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Lochlainn M.N.,Trinity College Dublin | Kenny R.A.,The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing TILDA | Kenny R.A.,Trinity College Dublin | Kenny R.A.,St James's Hospital
Journal of the American Medical Directors Association | Year: 2013

Sexuality is an important component of emotional and physical intimacy that men and women experience throughout their lives. Research suggesting that a high proportion of men and women remain sexually active well into later life refutes the prevailing myth that aging and sexual dysfunction are inexorably linked. Age-related physiological changes do not render a meaningful sexual relationship impossible or even necessarily difficult. Many of these physiological changes are modifiable. There are various therapeutic options available to patients to achieve maximum sexual capacity in old age. This article reviews the prevalence of sexual activity among older adults, the problems these adults encounter with sexual activity, and the role of the health care professional in addressing these problems. The physiological sex-related changes that occur as part of the normal aging process in men and women are reviewed, as well as the effect of age-related physical and psychological illness on sexual function. The attitudes and perceptions of the media and general public toward sexual activity and aging are summarized. An understanding of the sexual changes that accompany the aging process may help general practitioners and other doctors to give practical and useful advice on sexuality as well as refute the misconception that aging equates to celibacy. A thorough awareness of this aspect of older people's quality of life can raise meaningful expectations for aging patients. © 2013 American Medical Directors Association, Inc.

PubMed | Economic and Social Research Institute and The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing TILDA .
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Health psychology : official journal of the Division of Health Psychology, American Psychological Association | Year: 2015

There has been an increased interest in the role of the childhood social environment in the etiology of adult diseases in recent years. The present study examines whether the experience of adversity during childhood increases risk for disease in later life independent of later life socioeconomic, behavioral, and psychosocial factors.The study involved a nationally representative sample of 6,912 persons aged 50 years and older who were participating in the first wave of the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing. Childhood adversity was indexed using a 4-item measure that captured challenging and potentially noxious childhood environmental exposures including, socioeconomic disadvantage, substance abuse among parents, physical abuse, and sexual abuse. A doctor diagnosis of disease across 9 chronic disease types represented the primary outcome variables.The experience of adversity during childhood was associated with increased risk of disease in midlife and older ages across a large number of chronic disease types including cardiovascular disease, lung disease, and emotional, nervous, or psychiatric disorders. Analysis of the dose-response pattern revealed positively graded associations between the number of adverse events experienced during childhood and the occurrence of chronic disease in later life. Cox proportional hazard models revealed that the experience of adversity during childhood was associated with earlier age of onset for any physical disease type or emotional, nervous, or psychiatric disorders.These findings indicate that childhood may represent a sensitive or critical period in the development of disease and reinforces the necessity of adopting a life-course approach to the study of chronic diseases.

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