Danish care: sex for the aged

“Wow!” That was my immediate reaction when I read of a unique nursing home in Denmark. As do many seniors, I dread the thought of living in one, but when my children say, “Dad, it’s time to go,” I’m packing my bag and heading for the Thorupgaarden nursing home in Copenhagen.

What’s so special about Thorupgaarden? Well, “Saturday Night is the Loneliest Night in the Week” may be true in some residences, but not at this Danish nursing home. Every Saturday night, pornographic movies are shown on the closed-circuit television. And if residents are still feeling a little depressed and uptight, they can request a visit from a prostitute. Caregivers claim this approach has a greater calming effect on the elderly than medication. I’d have to admit it sure beats Prozac!

While I’m convinced that the moral standards of North Americans have gone to hell, I also believe there’s an unhealthy tendency on this continent to label older adults as “perverts” or “dirty old men” if they show any evidence of sexuality.

Maj-Britt Auning, a department head at Thorupgaarden, says that sexuality is often overlooked in nursing homes. Moreover, there