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Intimacy and Elders

The study of intimacy in elders must first consider the definition of intimacy. Psychological intimacy refers to a relationship that is open and honest and allows each to relate personal thoughts and feelings. However, for some this definition varies and includes a combination of emotional and physical factors. Men and women view intimacy from a different perspective and vary within genders. Some men define intimacy in terms of sexual relationships and some women define intimacy in terms of emotional exchanges. In other cases, men report the expression of emotions and feelings of support as measures of intimacy (Mackey, Diemer, & O'Brien, 2000). Thus, confusion exists regarding intimacy in general and intimacy in the elderly includes additional factors that must be considered such as affects of age on sexual functioning and increased needs for emotional support from different significant others (Bedford & Avoili, 2001; Kingsberg, 2002).

The problem is that a comprehensive understanding of elder intimacy is lacking. Research has reported that elderly in nursing homes are suffering due to restrictions in cohabitation and physical or sexual expression, which may decrease feelings of intimacy and increase loneliness (Miles & Parker, 1999). While confusion exists regarding the definition of intimacy, it is argued that actual behaviors are more important than theory to determine what contributes to the inner sense of being psychologically intimate in a relationship (Mackey, Diemer, & O'Brien, 2000). A review of the literature has revealed gaps in the understanding of elder intimacy. A study is needed to determine the relationship between intimacy and loneliness, to understand elderly needs for the experience of intimacy (emotional, sexual), and to comprehend whether the elderly find intimacy within non-spousal relationships with significant others.

The purpose of this research study is to investigate elder intimacy, with...

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Intimacy and Elders. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 22:18, July 01, 2022, from