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Research projects

Sexuality in elder care

About this project

Project information

Project status

In progress 2022 - 2027


Thomas Strandberg

Sexuality is considered a fundamental human right, and the World Health Organization defines it as "a state of physical, emotional, mental, and social well-being in relation to sexuality." International standards emphasize that it is the responsibility of states to uphold, protect, and promote the sexuality of their citizens. However, the sexual health of older individuals is often neglected despite the fact that sexuality remains a lifelong aspect of human existence. This oversight can be attributed, in part, to the prevailing perception that older people are asexual. Such a perspective renders the sexuality of older adults invisible and disregarded in various contexts. The provision of elder care is influenced by stereotypical notions that depict older individuals as a homogeneous group characterized by fragility and dependency on caregiving. Consequently, the specific needs related to sexuality are overlooked and disregarded. Consequently, it is crucial for social work to identify the needs of older adults and ensure that they have access to the same level of welfare as other groups in society.

The overarching goal of this research project is to examine and analyze how the sexuality of older adults is acknowledged and respected within the context of residential care.

The thesis will be conducted as a compilation thesis, it will comprise three sub-studies and a concluding chapter that integrates the findings of the sub-studies.

Sub-study 1 will involve a scoping review, aiming to explore the experiences and attitudes towards sexuality among both residents and care staff in residential care.

Sub-study 2 will employ qualitative interviews with older individuals living in residential care, with the aim of understanding how they perceive the recognition and respect for their sexuality.

Sub-study 3 will employ a quantitative survey to assess the attitudes of management and care staff towards the sexuality of older individuals in residential care.

Doctoral student: Klara Le
Principal supervisor: Thomas Strandberg
Assistant supervisor: Maria Bennich

Research funding bodies

  • Örebro University