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Ageing well

Why is this a priority?

Cheshire West and Chester has a higher proportion of people in their 50s and 60s (27 per cent), compared to England (24 per cent). Around 19 per cent of our residents are over the age of 65 compared with England (16 per cent). Many people remain sexually active beyond their reproductive years. A national study found that among those aged 50–70 years, over two-thirds report at least one sexual partner in the past year. Increasingly, positive intimate sexual relations are recognised as a key aspect of health in all ages.

The need for sexual health messages aimed specifically at older men and women is stated in the Department of Health Framework for Sexual Health Improvement in England (2013). Although the framework notes that there is a small, but increasing incidence of sexually transmitted infections in people over 50, the latest local data available does not reflect this trend. However, it is important to note the suggestion that better communication is needed to inform older people of sexual health risks.

The known sexual health problems in this age group may well be underestimated because of a possible reluctance to seek help, due to embarrassment or stigma. This underlines the need to raise awareness to support adults in this age group seeking help for problems related to sexual activity and function, which may have important impacts on quality of life.

We must acknowledge and consider the sexual health issues that older people may encounter. It is important to ensure the right services are there to support and treat people and they know how to access advice and services.

Outcomes

Older people are able to find and access sexual health advice, support and services to help them meet their needs and enjoy healthy sexual lives.

Potential indicators

  • Number of people aged 50-65 accessing Sexual Health services year on year.
  • Number of people aged 65 and above accessing Sexual Health services year on year.

Other indicators will be determined by the Sexual Health and Wellbeing Forum.

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