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Is it time for that talk again!???
We are all getting older, some of us older than others. Age has little to do with some aspects of our life, while in other aspects it has a lot. For instance, many of us can remember when gas for the auto was twenty-five cents a gallon and was regular (there was not all the choices), kind of like (‘you get what you get without throwing a fit’) while others have difficulty remembering when the open highway speed was not regulated. This article is not about cars and driving however, it is about a very private aspect of our lives which all of us have.
Some of the commercials on TV today leave very little to the imagination, especially those advertising ED (Erectile Dysfunction) or feminine products or sexual enhancement products. If we go to the grocery store isles we can make note of a smorgasbord of products covering most all of our questions or needs. What does not seem to happen is the large sign saying no matter the person’s age, all sexually transmitted disease material and cautions apply just as they did in our teens and on. And of course, there is not a book sitting there for our 20, 30 and 40 something children explaining that ‘yes’ mom and dad still need protection.
Our age group has been the most publically vocal in the area of sexual topics. We may however have forgotten the need for protection. This is arguably the reason for a resurgence of many STD’s. However, what is important is for some reason (our fault) our children believe they just miraculously appeared with us one day. Here is what I mean:
Many of us are facing a time of change in our living arrangements, either moving into a retirement setting or just downsizing. We also find in many cases we are doing this as single people (primarily due to death of a spouse or a disease that no longer affords either spouse a relationship). We are meeting new and interesting people through others, new activities or a new lifestyle.
Our children are fine with us having a friend, as long as it stays at a handshake at the end of the shared time. More than that, a handshake will bring on all sorts of concern by our children, however, not one concern about STDs. They must think we don’t have those feelings anymore. Well, we need to share some information with them and if we have made a move to an assisted living or skilled nursing home every one on both the partners sides will know.
In many states this activity is reportable to not only the company headquarters for the Corporate Offices of this fine establishment but also to the police (and we were worried about our parents). It seems that some have the suspicion that there may not be mutual consent or there maybe concern that one or both are legally unable to give this consent. It is important to begin these conversations now while our children still recognize our ability to think through these things and form an intelligent decision. Believe me when I tell you it was easier to accept the lecture of our parents when we were 17 to 40 years of age, than it is now with our children.
Also we do not even want to have this discussion regarding STD’s with the staff and our family today. I guess I believe in the old saying ‘forewarned is forearmed’. Why this should come up at this time in our lives seems a bit overbearing. After all why should consenting adults need to explain this activity to anyone? Oh it is that consenting part again. And although this may seem farfetched to some it is now time to truly become educated in the community you live. There is a significant amount of concern in structured living settings and there can be significant legal ease to match it.
This is not meant to change your course of retirement living. It is meant to make you aware and to provide a platform to begin the conversation on. It does not matter if our parents or we are 70, 80 or 90; STD’s, Rape, Sexual Abuse and more still have merit for concern and conversation in our communities. And to our safety-net, doctors, home administrators, front line staff lets have a conversation among ourselves to raise understanding and awareness of the possibilities and avenues of addressing the topic with family, oversight delegates, clergy, police and so forth.
Next week: Your choice. Give me feedback on a subject of concern, only provide a first name and have this to me by Tuesday, May 26 2015. I will do the research and come back with information for you.