Oluwatoyin Sorinmade

  • Designation: Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust, Maidstone
  • Country: United Kingdom
  • Title: Dementia, Sexuality, and the Law- Is the Law Striking the Right Balance?


Dr Sorinmade is a Consultant in Old Age Psychiatry with a special interest in Mental Health Law, especially the Mental Capacity Act (England and Wales), as well as in empowering the decisional autonomy of older adults and enabling people to live well with dementia. His research interests are on human rights, mental health law as well as improving the quality of lives of older adults. He has publications in the field of old age psychiatry, mental health law, and human rights, and on subjects relating to mental health law, especially as they affect the older adult population.


People living with dementia seek intimacy regardless of dementia. This may represent the expression of basic human instincts and needs, e.g., the need for companionship and relief of loneliness, or may represent behavioral difficulties that can occur in dementia.

The legal position is for individuals engaging in sexual relations (e.g., kissing, sexual intercourse, etc.) to give “here and now” consent to such activities.

Invariably, the position of the law is that PLWD who have lost the "here and now" ability to consent to sexual relations should no longer engage in such activities.

Such individuals, especially in care homes, are dissuaded/prevented from engaging in sexual relations “in the interest of their safety” regardless of whether the intimacy-seeking behavior is driven by basic human instincts or by behavioral difficulties that can occur in dementia.

A recent qualitative study examined the views of (1). PLWD (2). Partner(s)/carer(s) of PLWD but with unpaid caring responsibilities (3). Carers supporting PLWD in care homes, (4). People over the age of 55 years who do not have a dementia diagnosis, and (5). Professionals with expertise in the care of PLWD on whether the position of the law has the right balance between protecting PLWD and supporting them to engage in activities basic to human existence.

The Research findings will hopefully translate to improved quality of care for People Living with Dementia and promote person-centered care and interventions that optimize their quality of life.

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