Sex, drugs and rock and roll. This expression is not typically associated with a nursing home, but as they say, the times, they are a changing.
The Hebrew Home at Riverdale made waves in 1995 when we created the nation’s first sexual expression policies. Our belief that consensual, intimate relationships among residents should be celebrated and encouraged, not forbidden or frowned upon, was considered progressive to some, controversial to many. In addition, we recognized that such policies were needed to address and protect the gray areas of consent with varying degrees of dementia. Throughout these last twenty years, we have shared our policies with many long-term care facilities, spoken at conferences and have been featured in international media outlets. We will continue to educate and enlighten about sexual expression in older adults, in pursuit of open dialogue and increased support.
Under New York’s new medical marijuana law, a patient certified by a healthcare provider to use medical marijuana can register with the New York State Department of Health and receive marijuana for such diseases as Parkinson’s MS and AIDS. This initative is a step in the right direction, but there is one major flaw. Medical marijuana is categorized as a Schedule 1 narcotic – just like LSD, heroin and cocaine. Typical long-term care facilities do not hold a license to supply these narcotics. This means that medical marijuana is illegal in nursing homes, making it virtually impossible for us to provide it to our residents because a staff practitioner cannot prescribe it. There are 1.5 million people living in nursing homes. We must change this classification to a Schedule 2 narcotic – just like Percocet or Vicodin.
And Rock and Roll…
We might not be blasting the Rolling Stones or Metallica at the Hebrew Home, but the halls are very much alive with the sounds of music throughout our campus. From weekly concerts and neighborhood strolling musicians, to music therapy groups, we believe that music is an integral part of life at the Hebrew Home…even if you might sing out of tune here and there.
Sex, drugs and rock and roll…and the Hebrew Home!