CONTRACEPTIVE CARE OF THE OLDER PATIENT – AGE AND SEXUAL FEELINGS (COUNSELLING)

The acceptance of the patient’s sexuality is as important as prescribing the right method. A nonjudgemental acceptance and a willingness to allow the patient to explore any feelings of guilt, embarrassment and sometimes even shame is as important as the provision of postcoital contraception. It is important that such feelings are dealt with when they are offered, for if left unresolved they can be very destructive. Such help need not be time consuming and it can prevent subsequent problems in sexual health and relationships which are a potent source of ill health (Sims, 1992).

Younger doctors and nurses may feel uncomfortable when patients old enough to be their parents need help with sexual matters. With experience they will notice that only with some patients do they feel embarrassment, and such a feeling is usually a response to patients who have some feeling within themselves about their age and sex. Indeed, some people may choose, either consciously or unconsciously, to consult someone whom they perceive to belong to a generation that knows about sex and will not be easily shocked.

Contraceptive and sexual problems at this age may be a symptom of difficulty in adjusting to the inevitable changes in role and pattern of life.

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