Breakfast clubs get men eating and chatting
Breakfast clubs have proven to be excellent programs for engaging male residents of long-term care homes in activities and encouraging them to interact with others, say two activity department heads.
Shirley MacLeod, program manager at Summit Place in Owen Sound, says of all the male-specific programming her department has tried, the men’s breakfast club has been the most successful.
Because men are usually greatly outnumbered by women in the home, it poses a challenge for the activity department to create meaningful programs for males, she says.
Often, the men end up going to women’s programs for something to do, however, they usually become bored and stop attending, she adds.
But the home’s once-per-month men’s breakfast club is something the guys look forward to attending.
The breakfast club provides a small, intimate setting for residents at the Central Park Lodges home to dine and to chat with each other, and the aroma of fried bacon and percolating coffee provides sensory stimulation.
MacLeod says she sees a big difference in the men when they’re attending the breakfast club.
“Increase of appetite is the No. 1 thing,” she says. “We have a couple of gentlemen who pick, pick, pick when they’re in the dining room, (but) when you take them into the men’s breakfast they’ll clean up their plate once or twice.”
The experience of eating a fried breakfast surrounded by a small group of their peers also gives the guys a chance to reminisce, notes MacLeod.
“They might even sit with the same person in the dining room and not exchange two words, but once they’re in a smaller, quieter environment, it’s just like they met each other,” she says.
April Anderson, the life enrichment co-ordinator at OMNI Health Care-owned Burnbrae Gardens in rural Campbellford, agrees.
Because many of the male residents in her long-term care home come from farming backgrounds, it takes them back to a time when everyone ate a large breakfast before going out into the fields.
“It reminisces back to the time when they worked on farms,” says Anderson. “I often get comments when I put the plates down like, ‘Do you think I’m going to go threshing after this?’”
In addition to men’s breakfast clubs, Summit Place and Burnbrae Gardens both offer breakfast clubs for their ladies. Not only do these clubs allow men and women the opportunity to interact amongst each other, but men and women also have very different eating habits, says Anderson.
“The men will usually just eat and go and get on with their day, but the ladies will sit there and drink tea and coffee till the cows come home and socialize,” she says.
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