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Mar 21, 2018

Older Women Talking About (Safe) Sex – and Food

Earlier today when we headed over to the ITVET Compound in Belize City, a most unusual discussion was taking place among folks over fifty years of age. The topic was sex never gets old. The workshop was put together by the National Council of Ageing and the Ministry of Health for the women who have not previously had opportunity to discuss these very personal issues before. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

‘Sex never gets old’ – you are never too old to talk about best sexual health practices and attitudes towards sexual health and normal changes in the body. That’s what the National Council of Ageing along with the Ministry of Health is trying to promote between older persons, particularly women. Today, a sexual health and ageing workshop for women, fifty and older, was held at the ITVET Compound in Belize City. Executive Director of NCA, Ixchel Poot says it is the second year that the workshop is being held.

 

Ixchel Poot

Ixchel Poot, Executive Director, National Council of Ageing

“If you would look at the development of health and sexual education, you will find that this particular age group has been absent from the conversation because when the large portion of the population began getting education about sexual health, they were not included for several reasons: different generation, different composition of the society at the time. But what we have seen is that as they become older, there is a greater risk for them to engage in risky behavior. And an older woman, who has already past menopause won’t think about safe sex because safe sex is marketed as preventing pregnancy and if you can’t get pregnant so what’s the point. So it’s really looking at how these women can continue to be women in a very health and safe environment.”

 

It’s a comprehensive one-day session where women were able to discuss the changes their body experiences, but also how to engage in sexual activities in a safe and healthy way. There were presentations from the Belize Family Life Association on the pap smear, breast exams, sexually transmitted diseases and even health and wellness. Nutritionist Robyn Daly from the Ministry of Health also engaged the women in nutrition and body mass index checks.

 

Robyn Daly

Robyn Daly, Nutritionist, Ministry of Health

“Nutrition is very important for older persons. Many times food becomes a challenge, finances becomes a challenge—food in terms of availability; they are not exposed to as much variety of foods. Also finances and many times older persons don’t know what they need to consume during the older years as they age. So the nutrition becomes very important and hopefully the information shared could be a guide for them to know what they need and foods they need to keep in their diets through their daily lives.”

 

The participants were from all over the country and from different walks of life. But Poot says that they share similar experiences and stories, which indicate that the older population is very active. But there is still stigma associated with older persons purchasing protection.

 

Ixchel Poot

“That is just a misconception of the younger generation; they have no misconceptions of what they are allowed to or not allowed to do. The real questions that we faced are how do they do it safely; how do they maintain health, what are warning signs that they should look out for. In the session in Belmopan, they really talked about concerns that their partners might have other partners and what are safety measures that they can take for themselves. And this creates the environment for them to ask those questions without stigma. Many times they would tell you well I am embarrassed to go to a drug store to buy a condom; I am embarrassed to go to a drug store to ask for lubricant and the same thing for older men. So this gives them a platform, an environment where they can ask these questions and get the information and be informed and make better decisions for themselves.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

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