Tinkering in the shed for senior men’s wellbeing
Some people look at retirement as a new beginning that lightens up obligations to indulge in social, holidaying or sporting activities. Others view it as the end of the lifestyle they are familiar with. Research has shown that men over 65 are more likely to take the latter view. Fortunately there are some great initiatives available to men over 55 to keep them engaged, extend their networks and boost their sense of self-worth and wellbeing.
The Australian baby boomer generation is one in which men, particularly, centred their identity and their perceived sense of worth based on their working life, and being a provider for their family. Stepping out of the structure, networks and routine that paid employment provided, can be a jolt to the career focused and sadly, has been shown to impact negatively on men’s wellbeing.
Staying active, social and engaged is key to good health
Staying active and engaged within a broader community optimises positive health and wellbeing outcomes. Read on and find out how existing organisations can help you, or the man in your life flourish in retirement.
Men’s Shed Association is an exemplar of promoting older men’s wellbeing
Victoria offers a range of options when it comes to supporting optimum wellbeing for older men.
The Australian Men’s Shed Association (AMSA) is recognised as one of Australia’s largest, male-based community development organisations. More than 930 Men's Sheds have popped up throughout Australia because of the growing demand for wellbeing focused initiatives for men.
This grassroots movement came about because it was recognised that older Australian males had far worse mental health outcomes than their female counterparts. While we are evolving, Australian males now in their 60s and over were typically not encouraged to share their emotions and feelings, which probably explains why they may fare worse when it comes to mental health. Phrases such as ‘toughen up’ or ‘don’t cry like a girl’ are fortunately well on their way out of vogue today!
According to the AMSA website: "Good health is based on many factors including feeling good about yourself, being productive, and contributing to your community, connecting with friends and maintaining an active body and mind."
Men's Sheds actively encourage sharing skills, completing projects that benefit the community, or taking on independent projects of their own choosing. Part of the appeal of the Men's Sheds movement is that no two sheds are identical. Their environment and ethos will reflect the demographics of the locality, allowing the men involved to really feel like a part of a localised community.
Since the organisation's launch in 2007, a lot of research has supported the efficacy of the program.
Retirement Communities Australia (RCA) Villages and Men’s Wellbeing
RCA Villages actively promote activities to engage senior men in community initiatives and activities. Active Management – where residents have a say in how the village is run, and Active Health centres, services and activities, are purposefully designed to engage each village community. On-site workshop facilities promote activities that residents can gather around, and extend their sense of self and community.
Even making the decision to move into a retirement village is an opportunity to connect with a new community, and to feel part of a whole new social fabric.