Men's activities result in improvement to well-being
A Woy Woy aged care facility has claimed a marked improvement in the wellbeing of male residents after expanding its offerings to men.
An increase in Men's Group activities BlueWave Living last year has resulted in an improvement to both patient and staff morale, according to leisure and lifestyle officer Ms Merilyn Tanswell.
"For people with dementia, activities are an extremely important aspect of their care," she said.
"Many concerning behaviours displayed by people living with dementia stem from boredom or lack of stimulation.
"While most people enjoy sitting and doing nothing for a few hours, the reality of doing nothing over a longer period of time is far from enjoyable.
"In particular, men with dementia often feel isolated and need encouragement to socialise and expand their social networks.
"This is often due to a decline in communication skills and confidence.
"A lack of meaningful purpose can be linked with poor health, depression, agitation and other medical problems.
"But being able to participate in suitable activities can make a person feel independent, empowered and validated," Ms Tanswell said.
"In recent months, the team at BlueWave Living has expanded their Men's Group activities.
"The group aims to decrease isolation and loneliness by providing a relaxed space for social interaction that will not only increase stimulation but also facilitate friendships and combat loneliness and isolation.
"Structured activities include woodwork, remote control car racing and gardening.
"A number of volunteers visit the facility and there are presentations about subjects including fishing, bush regeneration and planes.
"Sometimes it's just about enjoying a quiet beer and reminiscing.
"A couple of highlights from 2019 included a special visit from the Classic Car Club, which was a hit with the residents, and the most notable was when two beautiful Clydesdale horses roamed the hallways at BlueWave Living," Ms Tanswell said.
According to Ms Tanswell, male to female ratios in aged care facilities were often not proportional due to women's longevity compared to men.
"In most aged care facilities the ratio of men to women is unbalanced.
"At present, less than a third of our residents are male.
"Even though our men are outnumbered, our activity program is delivered with the interests of all residents, both men and women, in mind," she said.
"Introducing the Men's Group has been a truly positive initiative.
"Seeing the men come together as a group, recognising each other, sharing a smile and shaking hands shows the true potential of this group.
"I'm really glad to be part of this wonderful program," Ms Tanswell said.
Ms Tanswell said BlueWave had received lots of positive feedback from families who were happy to see their loved ones participating in activities that were suitable for them as individuals.
"The flow-on effect from these interactions is that male residents are calmer, enjoying other male company and looking forward to their next group activity.
"We also find that these tailored activities boost staff morale.
"Walking past and seeing the men interacting and chatting about the 'good old days' really does bring a smile to our faces.
"Both the staff and residents look forward to these moments," Ms Tanswell said.
Website, 2 Jan 2019
Kylie Scott, BlueWave Living