Archive of European Projects

Health and Social Care Promotion Materials That Focus on Intimacy and Sexuality in the Third Age
Start date: 01 Sep 2014, End date: 30 Sep 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Europe is in need of innovative new solutions to prepare for the unprecedented ageing of its population, reflecting a number of factors including the increasing life expectancy and access to health care. The need to improve and increase the exchange of knowledge on healthy ageing and the challenges raised by the increasing number of elderly people is a major task for all EU countries. Sexuality is an essential element of one’s identity. However, the social environment of most Western cultures has never allowed for the discussion of sexual behaviour. This same secretive environment exists for seniors today. Also, gerontologists and other medical experts generally agree that continued sexual interest and activity can be therapeutic for older men and women. However, we do not give enough attention and respect to sexuality when considering the lives of older adults. There are many false expectations regarding the effects of aging and sexuality. Knowledgeable professionals are a key to this vital personal and social change: in giving permission, providing information, and offering specific suggestions that enable people to overcome barriers to one’s health and happiness. But it is not easy for health and social care professionals to access reliable, interdisciplinary, low-barrier and easy-to understand state-of-the-art information on ageing and sexuality, once they have realized how important this topic is. The special challenge of the complex interaction between physiological factors, cultural factors and the psychology of ageing and sexuality identified by recent research are at present not sufficiently addressed by any major EU project. Therefore, the specific objectives of the project are to develop and implement new and effective tools that reinforce sexual health and personal well-being of old people, by developing • a flexible, efficient and sustainable model to raise health and social care professionals‘ awareness and understanding of intimacy and sexuality in older people • Guidelines for health care and social professionals to use in the assessment and interventions addressing the improvement of intimacy and sexuality in senior clients. They will draw attention to existing barriers, as the prevalent health belief models limit the access to and enjoyment of sexuality, and they will identify strategies that the healthcare professional can implement to help improving his/her practice in this area. • an internet based Toolbox with materials for psycho-social approach to the final beneficiaries, i.e. older people, to cover a vitally important topic that does not lose its power with age. The partnership consists of a multidisciplinary team: • University College of Health Sciences Slovenj Gradec, Slovenia • INTEGRA Human evelopment Institute, Slovenia • ECC Association for Interdisciplinary Education and Consulting, Austria • Irish Centre for Social Gerontology, Ireland • Institute for Psychogerontology, German • University of Sheffield, School of Nursing & Midwifery, UK • Universià delle Liberetà, Italy • Greek Academic Network, Greece The consortium is also joined by a large number of associated strategic partners that have, already at the stage of preparation of the proposal, agreed to collaborate. This will further guarantee the sustainability of the concept and that will facilitate the implementation of the project’s results
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