Managing Inappropriate Sexual Behavior in Alzheimer’s Disease

Elizabeth Marcus
Elizabeth Marcus
Martin Samuels
Martin Samuels, MD

Inappropriate sexual behavior is a common yet rarely discussed symptom in individuals with dementia. Author Elizabeth Marcus writes about her personal experience with her father’s behavioral changes in her new book, “Don’t Say a Word!: A Daughter’s Two Cents.” Elizabeth shares what she learned caring for her father, as well as advice for caregivers responding to the symptoms. Neurologist Dr. Martin Samuels offers background on changes in the brain that can cause inappropriate sexual behavior and other personality shifts that are common in people with dementia. Guest: Elizabeth Marcus, author; Martin Allen Samuels, MD, Brigham and Women's Hospital

Episode Topics:

  • What is your book about? 1:09
  • How did you react to your father’s request? 3:08
  • What did you learn about the experience? 4:04
  • What did you learn about the relationship between sex and dementia? 5:29
  • What is the key message of your book? 6:50
  • How common are these situations? 8:33
  • Are there physical changes in the brain that explain these symptoms? 9:10
  • Why do some individuals with memory loss develop these symptoms, while others don’t? 12:44
  • How can family members respond to the situation once it becomes uncomfortable? 14:51
  • What advice do you have for family member’s going through this experience? 17:27
  • What types of education or resources do you provide caregivers? 19:30
  • How do you respond to caregivers looking into medication for the symptoms? 21:55
  • What is your experience with the stigma around sex and individuals with memory loss? 23:44
  • Any suggestions for overcoming the discomfort and respectfully addressing these symptoms? 26:33

Visit Elizabeth Marcus’ author website to learn about her new book, “Don’t Say a Word! A Daughter’s Two Cents.”

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Show Notes

Visit Elizabeth Marcus’ author website to learn about her new book, “Don’t Say a Word! A Daughter’s Two Cents.” The book is available wherever books are sold.

Elizabeth Marcus shares thought-provoking stories about connection in her Psychology Today blog, "Heartstrings."