During this week’s seminar, Sarah Dulaney and Jennifer Merrilees led a discussion on hypersexuality in Lewy Body Dementia. Throughout our conversation, we drew connections from Bronner and Korczyn’s article, “The Role of Sex Therapy in the Management of Patients with Parkinson’s Disease” (Movement Disorders Clinical Practice, 2018). We focused on ethical considerations related to patients and caregivers’ concerns about issues with intimacy as a result of dementia.
We began by introducing sexual issues that couples may have as a result of dementia, making note of the need to acknowledge and address the lack of sexual health discussions in healthcare settings with people who have these and other disabilities. Some ethical concerns that arose included sexual consent capacity in aging populations and the medicalization of sexuality. The group was also interested in the role that providers and sex therapists have in helping to mitigate sex-related issues in relationships, where significant others must often navigate between the spousal/partner and caregiver roles. Finally, we used a set of three case studies (hypersexuality as a result of Parkinson’s medications, hypersexuality due to Lewy Body Dementia, and hypersexuality in an assisted living facility) to discuss how to best address sex-related conflicts that may occur between patients with dementia and their caregivers.