Serving the Underserved: Caring for People Who Are Both Old and Mentally Retarded: A Handbook for Caregivers

By Mary C. Howell; Deirdre G. Gavin et al. | Go to book overview
to have staff minimize criticism of the client and to inform the client's peers about the client's inability to accomplish some tasks

Staff were also urged to see the disease from the client's point of view, to imagine the fear, doubt, defeat, and self-blame of the client who finds herself unable to complete tasks that were previously familiar to her, and who cannot understand why she can no longer perform as she once did. In a considerable number of cases, data collection and a behavioral analysis were helpful in providing an understanding of client behavior and the staff's reaction to their own beliefs.

It is gratifying to be able to report that a number of the interventions that were recommended proved to be very effective. Staff and service coordinators were kind enough to volunteer feedback about the value of the suggestions that were offered. These unsolicited testimonials were much appreciated reinforcements for the members of our Team.


47
SEXUALITY

Gerard A. Cabrera

Sexuality is a part of life, a part of our whole being. To ignore our sexuality is to ignore and deny that synthesis of ourselves.

When we see someone who is old, we usually do not think of her as being sexual, or even having a sexuality. In our culture, sex appeal belongs to the young and to the "beautiful people." Our prejudice tells us that old people "can't" have sex, that their bodies are no longer pretty, that their drive is lowered, and that their passion is dimmed by decreasing health. And when we see people with mental retardation, cast out of the "normal" world in many cases, we project our fears onto them.

-261-

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