“ALL THE POWER TO THEM”: EXPLORING PERSPECTIVES AND EXPERIENCES OF INTIMACY AND SEXUALITY AMONG OLDER LONG-TERM CARE RESIDENTS
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The present study explored the lived realities of LTC residents to gain a better understanding of their intimate and sexual needs. A qualitative descriptive approach gave voice to the experiences of ten residents in a LTC facility in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Participants reported diverse and changing perspectives of intimacy and sexuality. Furthermore, findings revealed that barriers and facilitators to intimacy and sexuality operate at the individual- and system-level. Five system-level factors—staff, rules and regulations, level of privacy, facility neutrality, and residents’ sense of home—are uniquely positioned as both barriers and facilitators to intimacy. These factors may be modifiable and offer promising starting points to create positive change within the facility. Findings may be used by the LTC facility to build on existing strengths and develop a more openly supportive environment for intimate and sexual expression. Implications and recommendations for policy, practice, and future research are provided.