Friday, June 20, 2008

Aging Disgracefully? Who Says?

Here's a story that is probably being played over and over in aged care facilities around the world. When does an adult lose the ability to choose with whom they will share a physical and emotional relationship?

We often hear that "children become the parents" as people age and in some ways that can be a useful role to accept. But when does one's attempt to help, just become itself, problematic and controlling, for the benefit of self, not those to whom we seek to protect?


An Affair To Remember

She was 82. He was 95.
They had dementia. They fell in love. And then they started having sex.
By Melinda Henneberger
Posted Tuesday, June 10, 2008, at 1:14 PM ET

Bob's family was horrified at the idea that his relationship with Dorothy might have become sexual. At his age, they wouldn't have thought it possible. But when Bob's son walked in and saw his 95-year-old father in bed with his 82-year-old girlfriend last December, incredulity turned into full-blown panic. "I didn't know where this was going to end," said the manager of the assisted-living facility where Bob and Dorothy lived. "It was pretty volatile."

Because both Bob and Dorothy suffer from dementia, the son assumed that his father didn't fully understand what was going on. And his sputtering cell phone call reporting the scene he'd happened upon would have been funny, the manager said, if the consequences hadn't been so serious. "He was going, 'She had her mouth on my dad's penis! And it's not even clean!' " Bob's son became determined to keep the two apart and asked the facility's staff to ensure that they were never left alone together. Read the full article here

If you're of a certain age and your parents are still alive, there is a good chance that you will already be living with some of the fallout from having aging parents, or will face it in the years to come.

What would you do?




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