Monthly program successful at engaging men
One of the challenges that comes with creating meaningful programming for men in long-term care homes stems from the fact that men represent a much smaller percentage of a home’s population, says Tammy Kean, activation aide at Carveth Care Centre.
Adding to the challenge, men usually aren’t as energetic about trying new things as women tend to be, but once they get out of the starting gate, that can all change, says Kean.
“Most men are not nearly as outgoing (as women), so you really need to give them a boost to get them to give things a try,” she says. “Once you get them going in something, they’re OK.”
The Gananoque long-term care home’s monthly men’s luncheon is one program which has seen some success. The luncheon, which is only available to the home’s men, features guest speakers, who chat with the men about traditionally male topics.
This gets many of the guys asking questions and chatting with each other. Even when a guest speaker cancels, the luncheons have been successful at engaging men in conversation, says Kean.
“We’re finding that it works well both ways,” she says. “When the guest speaker isn’t there, they can just relax, they’re offered a beer if they want, and it’s very casual and male-oriented.”
Male family members and friends are also encouraged to attend these luncheons.
“It’s kind of like hang-out-at-the-bar night for them,” says Kean.
The speakers usually chat with men about topical events. This being hunting season, the Nov. 14 luncheon featured a guest speaker who came to the home to chat with the men about hunting.
Denise Ansell, life enrichment co-ordinator at Streamway Villa in Cobourg, finds that unlike women, men tend to dislike structured programs.
“Men (prefer) to saunter over to the coffee shop and have coffee with their buddies,” she says. “They don’t call each other ahead of time to make plans to meet. Sometimes I think men’s programming is just too structured for men.”
In order to get more men participating in programming, Ansell suggests staff members wait until the last minute before asking them if they’d like to attend an event or go on an outing.
She cites an outing in July where staff members had planned to take the men to a local car show. Rather than asking them in advance, staff waited until the last minute to see if they were interested in going. As a result, there was a good turnout for the event, says Ansell.
“If you would have gone to them a week ago and said, ‘Do you want to go to a car show in a week?’ they would have probably said no,” she says.
Men in long-term care enjoy work-related activities