Retirement Communities: Frat Houses for Seniors?

Senior communities are increasing sharing a similar culture to the college dorm or a frat house, complete with STDs and marijuana use.  Older adults are engaging in sex but not all are using proper protection to avoid contracting a disease and with less stigma surrounding cannabis use, more seniors are using medical and recreational marijuana.

In response to this changing senior lifestyle, more retirement and assisted living communities are offering classes and talks about safe sex and the benefits of cannabis to help manage pain, treat depression or help with sleep disorders.

A 2016 Study by the Society for the Study of Addiction reports that marijuana use among adults over the age of 50 increased 57.8 per cent between 2007 and 2013.  The average age of medical marijuana patients is also on the rise and many seniors are turning to cannabis as an alternative to opioid drugs.

Education is key and belonging to a marijuana club can help seniors stay safe while using pot medicinally or otherwise.  In California’s Walnut Creek retirement community, the medical marijuana club has about 100 regular members who are counseled about dosage and the dangers of mixing alcohol or driving while using cannabis.   According to a recent CBS report, it is recommended that seniors stay away from edibles and start off very slowly.

The senior population, no longer concerned about pregnancy, may not be well educated about other risks of unprotected sex.   Retirement and nursing home staff are increasingly aware of the rise in sexual activity among residents and are working to provide education and hand out condoms, sometimes against the wishes of family members.  Adults children may protest but in the age of viagra, between 2007 and 2011, the number of chlamydia infections among Americans 65 and older increased by 31 per cent and in 2013, people over 50 accounted for 27 per cent of HIV diagnoses in the United States.

To learn more about how cannabis can provide an alternative to pharmaceuticals for seniors, visit cannabis educator Sue Simon Taylor’s website by following this link.  Aunt Zelda’s is another resource dedicated to research and education as well as making several products available to patients. To learn more about STDs among older adults visit the American Association for Retired Person’s here.