Men in long-term care enjoy work-related activities
Pamm Griffin, the activity co-ordinator at Muskoka Landing long-term care home in Huntsville says it’s sometimes difficult to find activities for men at the home.
“One difficulty that we’ve found in the past in meeting men’s needs is that their generation was mainly the care providers - they were always working and didn’t have much time for leisure activities,” Griffin says, meaning men aren’t often interested in joining the ladies for a game of Bingo.
“It’s hard to find things other than work-oriented programs,” she says.
It’s no wonder that some of the more popular programs for men at Muskoka Landing revolve around hands-on activities such as woodworking, gardening or automobiles.
One of the more popular program’s for men is woodworking where the home purchases un-finished wooden ‘Muskoka’ chairs (dock chairs) for residents to sand, stain and auction off as a fundraiser.
“They absolutely love that program,” Griffin says. “They’re trying to find other things they can start making.”
Another issue when it comes to designing programs for men is apathy. Griffin says there aren’t many go-getters eager to participate in the next activity.
“There are maybe three or four men you’ll see at everything but a lot of them are residents that like to stay in their rooms so we have to provide them with one-to-one programming,” Griffin says, adding that many programs at the home are taking on more of a one-to-one approach.
“Even the female residents that are coming in now are getting almost lost in large group activities so in order to meet their needs you have to provide them with one-to-one interaction,” Griffin says.
To overcome the challenge of creating programs for men at a long-term care home in Campbellford, April Anderson, the life-enrichment co-ordinator at Burnbrae Gardens, now uses a book which she has found helpful.
The book, “Gentlemen’s Gatherings: Sensory Stimulators for Men’s Groups,” contains programming ideas and male-driven themes which Anderson says has worked well. Some of the chapters included in the 44-page book are Automobile Activities, Workin’ on the Railroad and Checkers and Chess.
Anderson explains how the book works.
“For the Working on the Railroad (chapter), it explains how the railway started and the history of the railway,” she says. “So we do the history of the story and then we take time to talk about it and get them to reminisce.”
Since using the book, Anderson says it has been successful at getting men to chat and reminisce, which in turn helps maintain skills.
While it’s more of a systematic change, Griffin also suggests encouraging more men to consider long-term care activity co-ordinator as a career path or simply encouraging them to volunteer their time.
“We had a male staff on and the men took to him,” Griffin says, of a former staff member at Muskoka Landing. “Men relate to men sometimes better than they relate to women.”
- With files from Deron Hamel