That's right! When Audrey Davison met someone special at her nursing home, she wanted to love her man. Her nurses and aides at the Hebrew Home at Riverdale did not try to stop her either. They allowed her to stay over in her boyfriend's room with the door shut under the Bronx home's stated "sexual expression policy." One aide even made the couple a "Do Not Disturb" sign to hang outside. 85-year-old Davison said, "I enjoyed it and he was a very good lover. That was the part of how close we were; physically touching and kissing." 85? How do these guys still get it up?
Ms. Davison is among a number of older Americans who are having intimate relationships well into their 70s and 80s. Some cases get the help of Viagra and some a more tolerant societal attitude towards sex outside of marriage. These aging lovers have challenged the traditional notions of growing old and in some cases, raised logistical and legal issues for their families, caretakers and the institutions they call home.
Nursing homes in New York and around the country have loosened the daily regimens to give their residents more choices like what time to bathe or what time to eat dinner. The next step for some is to allow residents the options of having sex and to provide support for those who do. The Hebrew Home has stepped up efforts to help residents looking for relationships. Staff members have organized a happy hour and a senior prom, and they even started a dating service called "G-Date" for dating Grandparents. There are currently 40 of the 870 residents involved in a relationship.
The nursing home came up with the sexual expression policy in 1995 after a nurse walked in on two residents having sex. Today, the sexual expression policy is posted on the home's website and reviewed the staff members. The policy is intended not only to encourage intimacy among those who want ti, but also to protect others from unwanted advances to set guidelines for the staff. For example, the policy stipulates that even residents with Alzheimer's can give consent for a sexual relationship under certain circumstances. To date, the home has never been sued over the policy.
Relationships also mean more drama for the staff, which tries to keep up with who is together and who is not. The dining room can be a land mind. Sometimes, one member of a couple will get jealous when the other pays attention to someone else. Other couple become too amorous, prompting calls to "keep it in your room."
I guess it seems the older we get, the more things stay the same. Only it happens in a nursing home. As for the sex and relationships, like a wise man (my father) once told me, "If you don't use it, you're going to lose it!" I guess these old folks live by that motto! I don't know whether to be grossed out or be happy that the sex drive never goes away! I guess as long as I don't visualize, I can't be grossed out, right?