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August 19, 1992

The Heart Has No Wrinkles

JAMA. 1992;268(7):923-924. doi:10.1001/jama.1992.03490070105057

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


This is a short, powerful teaching video designed to open discussion on the sensitive topics of human sexuality and the aging process. As health care providers, we put on our "professional hat" (professing objectivity in dealing with all patients), forgetting that we, too, are influenced by preconceived notions and societal stereotypes about aging. These ideas affect our interactions with the elderly and allow us to avoid the human aspect of the aged and their special needs for intimacy. This video sparks many emotions and thoughts about our own aging and sexual identity and how we interact with others.

The tape begins with a television scene of an on-the-street reporter interviewing young persons on the meaning of sexuality. This opens a brief discussion between nursing home residents and the staff on the subject. The scene quickly changes, focusing on the daily activities of the nursing home. A nurse, Jane, goes to