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Sex and Health

Thorupgaarden nursing home in Copenhagen

Pornography At Nursing Homes?

By Dr. W. Gifford Jones

September 15, 2002

This week I ran into the same problem I've encountered many times before. Many writers will understand. I was bored, weary of my computer and barren of ideas. I've written 1400 columns during the last 28 years. And I desperately needed a new topic to keep me from falling asleep. Suddenly I discovered it in Denmark. Then I couldn't wait to get back to my computer. Why? Because this story could never happen in "Canada, The Good".

A unique event has happened at the Thorupgaarden nursing home in Copenhagen. Don't ask me how it started. But the staff must have had a few fascinating discussions before making their earth-shaking pronouncement. They decided, in their infinite wisdom, that pornography has a greater calming effect on seniors than medication.

So how do they know this? I remember a song of years ago, "Saturday night is the loneliest night of the week" . Well, evidently it's not so lonely anymore at Thorupgaarden. Every Saturday night pornographic video's are shown on the home's internal channel.

But before all my proper Canadian readers turn blue, you must understand that that's not all that happens at Thorupgaarden. If residents are still feeling a little depressed and still not relaxed by looking at pornographic videos caregivers have another therapy to offer. Residents can request that a prostitute be allowed to visit.

Lars Elmsted Petersen, a spokesperson for the Danish Seniors lobby group, says pornography is healthier, cheaper and easier to use than medicine. If she's right, what a novel way to decrease the escalating healthcare costs of seniors in this country.

So how have the Danes citizens and Thorupgaarden residents reacted to this unorthodox therapy? Maj-Britt, a department head at Thorupgaarden, says that sexuality is often overlooked in nursing homes. And that there has been only one complaint about these videos since the program started three years ago. And Danish gerontologists (experts who care for the aged) also agree with this practice.

What about the Danish government? Does it have any objections? No. It released a report stating that sexuality is an integral part of life for both seniors and disabled people. And it agrees with caregivers that elderly patients should be able to satisfy their sexual needs.

Before I go further let me reassure readers I'm no friend of child pornography. I'm also convinced that the moral standards of North Americans have gone to hell. But I also believe there's an unhealthy tendency on this continent to label seniors as "perverts" or "dirty old men" if they show any evidence of sexuality.

So could this Danish move benefit our seniors? Would it convince puritans to take a more realistic view of sex. And hopefully teach young people that elderly parents don't automatically stop thinking about sex at 60, 70 or whatever age. After all, it's not young males that are lining up to get a Viagra prescription!

But do I envision this broadminded therapy for seniors in Canada? People from other countries often ask me "What is the difference between Montreal and Toronto. I usually reply, "In Toronto they make money. In Montreal they make love" . So maybe at some future time Quebecers will agree that seniors think more about sex than Anne of Green Gables.

But what about our politicians? Do they possess the same intestinal fortitude as Danes to say sex is healthy for seniors? Can you imagine in your wildest dreams the "Liberal" government sanctioning such a liberal act? Or Toronto the Good advocating pornography and Ladies of the Night for seniors? Fat chance.

As you me? I'm grateful to the Danes for this week's inspiration. And I also hope it's also kept you from dozing off.

I suspect this topic has shocked some readers. If it has, just remember it's prudent never to ask for whom the bell tolls. We too may be sitting in a not-so-interesting nursing home one day. We'll be bored as hell. And hey! A pornographic video on a Saturday night might add a spark to life and bring back memories. When it's my time to go I'd rather end it with a lady-of-the-night than falling off my rocking chair.


W. Gifford-Jones M.D Most recent columns

W. Gifford-Jones M.D is the pen name of Dr. Ken Walker graduate of Harvard. Dr. Walker's website is: docgiff.com.
Dr. Walker can be reached at info@docgiff.com















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