The need for intimacy is reoccurring and strong in humans. It enables us to feel connected to others, a sense of well-being and secure. In residents with dementia or memory loss, the approaches to fulfilling basic human needs are sometimes confused or inappropriate socially. These may include: making advances toward others, masturbating, removing clothing and making offensive remarks. It is important to remember that the resident often displays a loss of inhibitions that they would never display in previous life habits. They are unable to define proper social rules in meeting their appropriate needs for touch and closeness.
Possible Behaviors May Include:
- A person may mistake personal care as a sexual advance.
- A person will mistake their spouse for someone else.
- An uncontrollable urge that was previously controllable.
- Verbal language that is inappropriate.
- Removing clothing at inappropriate times.
- Thinking they are in the right place for toileting or showering.
- Remain calm without reactions of shock or disgust.
- Move the resident into a private area as soon as possible.
- If undressing, give them something to cover up.
- Do not allow residents or visitors to be laughed at or abused.
- Make the family aware of the behavior and how you intent to deal with it.
- Speak in a formal manner.
- Orient the resident verbally of the appropriate behavior.
- Create diversions.
- Implement a care plan that includes dealing appropriately with the undesired behavior.