How Dementia & Medication Can Cause Surprising and Inappropriate Sexual Behaviors

I was honored to be invited to speak at the Pennsylvania Assisted Living Association spring conference in Lancaster, PA last week. My keynote was about sexuality and dementia. As usual, attendees shared their stories with me. (Some of them were quite funny, and a couple were a bit shocking!)

I think it’s important to talk about this topic because surprising and inappropriate sexual behavior is not unusual in stroke survivors, people who have Alzheimer’s, and individuals who take Dopamine to control the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease.

Witnessing uninhibited sexual behavior in an older person can make both family members and professional caregivers uncomfortable. But when we understand that dementia and medication can affect the pleasure-trigger monitor in a person’s brain and render them incapable of understanding what is and is not appropriate social or sexual behavior, we are less likely to feel angry, upset, or ashamed of them.   

I gave this TEDX Talk a few years ago.  If you’re interested in watching more videos about managing the emotional stress of caregiving and you’d like more information about managing dementia-related challenging behaviors, please take a moment to check out my Caregiver Survival Training Course.