Our work strives to explore sexual health needs among older adults, including those with disability, identify barriers and facilitators to older adults accessing sexual health services and to utilise crowdsourcing to gather ideas from older adults on how to improve sexual health.
Our team has experience in behavioural science, disability studies, medicine, and public health.
Sexual Health in Older Adults Research (SHOAR) brings together a collaborative UK-China group conducting innovative research using participatory, community-driven approaches to obtain evidence for improving sexual health services among older adults and inform relevant policy recommendations for local authorities. Our aims are to:
- Understand sexual health and wellbeing among older adults in the UK using existing data from National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (NATSAL 3).
- Determine preferences for sexual health services among diverse older adults, using discrete choice experiments (DCEs).
- Identify high-quality messages to promote uptake of inclusive sexual health services among older adults in the UK.
- Create policy recommendations about how to make sexual health services more adaptive to older adults’ needs and preferences in diverse settings.
To provide evidence for improving sexual health services from the perspective of older adults, we will use participatory approaches that have been underutilized among this population. DCEs have been used to determine preferences for HIV testing among a range of specific populations and settings to inform strategies for optimizing health services; however, to date no DCE studies have been conducted to determine preferences for sexual health services among older adults. Similarly, creative crowdsourcing contests have been used to enhance youth participation in sexual health programs, but not the participation of older adults. In contrast to a ‘top-down’ approach (i.e. designed by health experts), our DCEs and creative crowdsourcing contest will represent a ‘bottom up’ approach by directly soliciting the perspectives and contributions of community stakeholders, presenting an opportunity to address the lack of involvement of older people in health research.