Sex, Consent, Capacity and Dementia – The Verdict

This is in follow up to the post I made earlier this month regarding the case involving a husband being charged of sexually assaulting his wife with dementia.

Here is the news story from CBS:

In this case, he was acquitted of the charges.

But the case raises the serious questions; in particular, when is a person deemed no longer capable of consenting to sexual acts due to cognitive impairment related to dementia.

This question of capacity and consent can be related to multiple decisions that face people every day – real estate, finances, travel, living arrangements etc.  Consent and capacity are so integral to participation in everyday life activities and occupations. I believe we as occupational therapists need to feel comfortable discussing this domain of practice…..

What do you think? Do you feel equipped to educate / assess / counsel /discuss this area?

Let us know your thoughts.


Federal Budget has items of interest

The Federal budget announcement on Tuesday contained a number of items that may be of interest to OTs and to clients and families. One or two appear to be of particular relevance to those of us who support older adults. Check out the link below for a budget overview:

Home Accessibility Tax Credit

Budget 2015 proposes a new, permanent Home Accessibility Tax Credit. This proposed 15-per-cent non-refundable income tax credit would apply on up to $10,000 of eligible home renovation expenditures per year, providing up to $1,500 in tax relief. Eligible expenditures will be for improvements that allow a senior or a person who is eligible for the Disability Tax Credit to be more mobile, safe and functional within their home.  (sounds exactly like the Ontario Healthy Home Accessibility Tax Credit).  This should result in Ontarians having access to 2 credit sources which would result in tax credits of 30% instead of current 15%.  It is to be introduced next year.  Details, eligibility criteria and implementation is not presently clear.

Extending Compassionate Care Benefits

Through the Employment Insurance program, Compassionate Care Benefits provide financial assistance to people who have to be away from work temporarily to care for a family member who is gravely ill and at significant risk of death. Budget 2015 proposes to provide up to $37 million annually to extend Employment Insurance Compassionate Care Benefits from six weeks to six months.  Again this is slated for implementation next year.

Investing in the Health of Canadians

Providing up to $42 million over five years, starting in 2015–16, to help improve seniors’ health through innovation by establishing the Canadian Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation.

Budget 2015 Overview

Let us know what you think!

Deadline is today! Early bird price for CAOT Conference 2015!

Occupational therapists have developed an understanding of the importance of addressing injustices to enable people’s full participation in occupations that are meaningful and enriching. Please join us in Winnipeg to share your knowledge and strategies for rising to the challenge of enhancing occupational justice in our communities.

Register today

RE: The CBC’s Marketplace Investigation on Brain Training

I watched the episode tonight.  It was interesting and somewhat disappointing to learn that games such as Lumosity have no proven value for people with dementia.

I realize however, that this and similar products are used in rehabilitation programs, particularly in Neuro rehab.  I am curious if anyone has experience using this type of technology with the dementia population….What was your experience?

Here is the link from the CBC website regarding the results of the Brain Training Investigation:

I particularly liked the scene with the woman with early onset Alzheimer’s who was playing Settlers of Catan (a boardgame) with her husband – she pointed out that this type of brain training (the old school style 🙂 has a social element, an interpersonal piece that is dynamic and is also very valuable – good food for thought.

Sex, Consent, Capacity and Dementia

All of these topics are complicated on their own.  Put them together and it is staggering.  It is also something very important to consider, especially with the growing dementia rates in Canada at present and in the years ahead.

In the news this week there has been lots of coverage of the case in Iowa of a husband being charged with sexually assaulting his wife who was living in a nursing home and had been deemed incapable of consenting to sexual acts.

Please take some time to look at the links below and share your thoughts about this complicated area…..

The CBC’s  – The Current covered the story this AM:

They also posted this link to a TED Talk on Sexuality and Dementia:

Coverage of the case by the Washington Post :

Let us know, what you think?

CBC Marketplace – Brain Training: Mind Games

In a powerful journey into the world of memory, Tom Harrington explores the fears of many Canadians, and his own, when it comes to memory loss. Having lost his parents and father-in-law to Alzheimer’s, Tom puts himself, and an industry, to the test. From popular brain training games to new technology that claims to improve brain function, he examines the promises and pitfalls of a multi-billion-dollar business in his most personal investigation yet.

Watch it on Friday at 8 PM –

Reminder: A survey of the perspectives of occupational therapists (OTs) and Student OTs in Canada on the legalization of physician assisted suicide and euthanasia”

Should Canadian Occupational Therapists Be Involved? Physician Assisted Suicide & Euthanasia

The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that Canadian residents have the right to assistance in ending their own life. Assisted suicide will soon become available across Canada. Is there a role for occupational therapy in such end-of-life care?

To share your reactions to some stories and offer your perspectives, you can complete an anonymous survey currently underway through the
University of Toronto

For more information you can contact Kevin Reel at or go directly to the survey at: