Sutton's Place

Who has the right to decide whether an Alzheimer’s patient may have sex? The patient’s children? The institution?

That is one of the many questions raised by an article in the NYTimes (Tuesday, April 14, 2015) in which reporter, Pam Belluck, reports on a case that is before the courts in Iowa.

78-year-old Henry Rayhons is charged with third degree felony sexual abuse of his wife, who was, at the time, in a nursing home, diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. He has admitted to pulling the curtain around her bed, and having sex with his wife.

Ms Belluck writes that “it is widely agreed that the Rayhons had a loving, affectionate relationship.” He visited his wife twice a day. Although she could not remember her daughters’ names, or in cognitive tests, recall certain words, a staff member says she was always pleased to see her husband.

Mrs. Rayon’s daughter objected to the sexual relations and…

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