Despite baby boomers being one of the most researched generations in history (nearly as researched as ‘Gen Y’, born 1980-1999, also known as the ‘millennial generation’), as boomers grow older, it seems there’s always more to know. Like, how are they negotiating sex and sexuality these days?
This is the topic being tackled by Alison Rahn, a PhD student at the University of New England, Armidale in the School of Behavioural, Cognitive and Social Sciences.
She is conducting a study with the title, Baby Boomer Sexuality: Exploring the Wants, Needs and Available Options in Australian Aged Care Settings. It seeks to identify the sexual and intimacy needs of baby boomer couples – born 1946-1965 – in the context of how that might influence the way aged care services can better meet their needs as some of this generation inevitably begins to require aged care.
Ms Rahn says her research explores the extent to which sexual ageism affects aged care residents, how baby boomers view their sexuality, how important (or not) intimacy and sexual expression are as they age, and what conditions they might need to meet their needs.
Still intimate and interested?
“We know that many older people remain sexually and physically intimate into their 70s, 80s and beyond, including those in aged care. I’m interested in the next wave of aged care residents, the baby boomers,” she says.
Ms Rahn says her study seeks to identify “potential conflicts between the wishes of this age group and the current delivery of aged care services.”
“Because approximately a quarter of Australia’s population are baby boomers, it is unlikely that existing aged care facilities will be sufficient to cater for the numbers expected to require care.
“In a new era of consumer-directed aged care, this study seeks to take advantage of this unique historical opportunity by comparing baby boomers’ needs with current care models and identifying how those needs might inform the future delivery of residential aged care in Australia,” she says.
The study calls on baby boomers to participate in a completely anonymous online survey.
At the completion of her thesis, scheduled for mid 2017, she intends to use the research to offer recommendations – via publications and conference presentations – towards establishing a ‘best practice’ for couples in aged care.
Take the survey
The survey questionnaire takes between 20 and 45 minutes to complete and you will not be asked your name or any identifying details.
If you are interested in participating, please click on this link to the study, where you will a find participant information sheet providing more details about what it involves and how the data will be used.
“Some of the questions are of a sensitive nature,” she says. “If you are uncomfortable answering any question at any time, please skip that question and go on to the next one.”
There’s also a Facebook page you can check out, called Couples in Aged Care.