Considering the Ethical Complexities of People with Dementia and Sexual Consent
Presented by: Andria Bianchi
By the year 2030, 75 million people are expected to be diagnosed with dementia worldwide. Most of these individuals will be over the age of 65 and many of them may want to engage in sexual acts. There are challenges related to the idea of sex and people with dementia, such as ageist conceptions of sex and sexuality, discriminatory stereotypes, as well as the ethical significance of sexual consent. The reason that sexual consent poses a challenge is because people with dementia may be unable to consent to sexual acts in conventional ways. This presentation will elucidate some of the ethical complexities of sex and people with dementia, introduce potential ways to approach relevant cases, and explore some of the ethical strengths and vulnerabilities of these approaches.
DR. ANDRIA BIANCHI is a Bioethicist and Clinician-Scientist at the University Health Network in Toronto, Ontario. She completed her PhD at the University of Waterloo where her doctoral research focused on the ethics of sex and sexual consent for people with dementia. Andria is a bioethicist member of the Joint Centre of Bioethics- University of Toronto, the Communications Officer on the board of the Canadian Bioethics Society, and an ethics columnist for Canada’s national healthcare newspaper, Hospital News.