Sexuality and the Older Adult

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A healthy sex life is fulfilling and good for multiple aspects of life including physical health and self-esteem. This is true among many older adults who continue to enjoy their sexuality into their 80’s and beyond. Participate in this module to better understand the myths vs. reality of sexual activity among older adults, the importance of assessing the sexual history utilizing the PLISSIT model, and screening for STIs. Acquire successful strategies for managing patients’ sexual dysfunction and provide appropriate patient education for your older adult patients.

Author Information

Author Bios

Valerie Gruss PhD, APN, CNP-BC
Clinical Assistant Professor
College of Nursing
Director, ENGAGE-IL
University of Illinois at Chicago

Valerie Gruss, PhD, APN, CNP-BC, FAAN, is an Associate Professor in the UIC College of Nursing.
She is a board-certified Nurse Practitioner and geriatrician with a broad range of clinical expertise and research experience working in primary care and with multidisciplinary teams in a variety of settings. Dr. Gruss’ position at UIC blends her roles as researcher, clinician and educator.

As a researcher, in 2015, Dr. Gruss was awarded a $3.3 million four year grant through the HRSA Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program (GWEP), to create an interprofessional education program for improving the care of older adults. Dr. Gruss clinical role is as Lead Clinical Consultant on a Federal Demonstration Project for the State of Illinois, “Money Follows the Person”, which transitions eligible seniors out of nursing homes and back to the community. As an educator, Dr. Gruss is Director of Interprofessional Education for the College of Nursing and teaches primary care and geriatrics in the UIC College of Nursing graduate program.

Module Information

Duration: 30 minutes
Format: Video Stream & pdfs

Module Guide and Handout
Resources & References
Continuing Education Credit Information

In support of improving patient care, Rush University Medical Center is accredited by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing education for the healthcare team.

Rush University Medical Center designates this live activity for a maximum of (0.5) AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

ANCC Credit Designation – Nurses
The maximum number of hours awarded for this CE activity is 0.50 contact hours.

This activity is being presented without bias and without commercial support.
Rush University Medical Center designates this knowledge based CPE activity (JA0000275-0000-19-071-H01-P) for (0.5) contact hours for pharmacists.

Rush University Medical Center designates this knowledge based CPE activity (JA0000275-0000-19-071-H01-T) for (0.5) contact hours for pharmacy technicians.

Rush University is an approved provider for physical therapy (216.000272), occupational therapy, respiratory therapy, social work (159.001203), nutrition, speech-audiology, and psychology by the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation.

Rush University designates this live activity for (0.5) Continuing Education credit(s).

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this module, learners will be able to:

  1. Identify societal attitudes and cultural factors affecting older adult sexuality and sexual
  2. Discuss the multidimensional needs of aging sexual minorities (lesbian, gay, bisexual,
    and transgender persons)
  3. Describe the role of clinicians in educating, screening, assessing, and managing sexual
    concerns and dysfunctions among older adults
  4. Identify risk factors and screening strategies related to the development of sexually
    transmitted infections (STIs) among older adults
Technical Support / Contact Info

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To report a complaint, please contact the ENGAGE-IL Program Help Desk at

This ENGAGE-IL learning activity fully complies with the legal requirements of the ADA and the rules and regulations thereof. Learners with special needs can make requests for accommodation at any time by sending e-mail to

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