Creating an environment that is conducive to men is an innovative way to increase the quality of life of the men in health care facilities. There is a great information about building a shed on the Alzheimer’s Australia website. There's even an entire manual you can download which discusses the importance of sheds for the male population and ideas on how to build a shed or create a “shed area” in your facility. Visit the Alzheimer's Australia webiste for more information
Another example of a male-oriented environment can be found in the Masonic Health Care Center in Michigan. The Masonic Health Care Center created Memory Lane, a series of open-ended rooms (bedroom, kitchen, living room, back/front porches, bathroom, and attic) in a long corridor. These “rooms” are representative of a 1930’s-1950’s home. Two areas of particular interest to men include a vintage Chevy truck that is literally “sticking out of the garage” and an attic area. Residents are able to get into the truck and sit behind the wheel, promoting reminiscence, range of motion and familiarly. The attic area is overflowing with vintage knick-knacks and ideal for residents who enjoy rummaging. These “rooms” demonstrate that if we think outside the box, we can create an atmosphere that promotes quality of life for everyone, especially the men. For more information visit Masonic Pathways and Time travel to the '40s-Not-for-Profit Report
Memory Lane "Attic"
Memory Lane "Vintage Chevy Truck"
There are many other environmental techniques that can be implemented as well such as:
|Create shadow boxes filled with familiar objects such as tools, fishing gear, camping gear, woodworking, electrical, plumbing etc. and display in various locations or in the resident rooms.|
|Purchase (or build) interactive boards that have latches, doorknobs, faucets, nuts/bolts, pipes, etc. These can be displayed on portable boards or on walls, especially on a dementia unit,.|
|Assess the male resident’s room for personalization and stimulation. Display personal items via shadowbox, frames, mobiles, etc. Contact the family for personal items such as favorite sports team memorabilia, awards, affiliations, hobbies and so on.|
Many residents, both men and women, of all levels of functional abilities, enjoy being out in the community. Outings can be costly for Recreation Departments, but with fundraisers and innovative strategies, the men can enjoy engaging in events and activities that occur in the community. As mentioned earlier, fundraising plays an important role in taking trips to the community. Engage the male residents in a series of fundraisers specially designed for male-bonding outings.
Although going to professional sporting events is ideal, it is not always an option for the facility. To increase outings to sporting events, recreation professionals may wish to contact the town recreation center, schools, and colleges to find out about local sporting events. Attending a minor league baseball game can be just as much fun, but a lot less expensive for everyone involved. Some facilities are located near a field or school and may have the option of wheeling the residents to a game as well. These local sporting events are free and require less transporting, travel, and time.
The men may also enjoy bowling, playing pool, going to an arcade, a putting green, fishing, joining an organization such as the American Legion, going to a movie or concert, and of course, dining out. Community outings require extensive planning, assistance, and money, therefore it is important to recruit volunteers, family members, and staff..
Providing activities for individuals with cognitive impairment is also challenging for Recreation Professionals, especially for the men. Activities must be individualized and adapted so that the male resident can participate at their highest level of ability. Recreation Professionals often ask: How can I take a male resident fishing or hunting? This is where the creativity and clinical knowledge comes into play. As mentioned earlier, various shadowboxes and interactive boards may be utilized for an individual with cognitive impairment. These boards and boxes would be reflective of an individual’s interests, affiliations and occupation). The facility can make these products or purchase them through a variety of manufacturers.
Memory or sensory boxes are also
a great way to provide quality of life and person-appropriate
the male residents. There are numerous male-oriented
kits available on the market,
or facilities can create their own individualized kits
simply by requesting items and information from the resident’s
family and friends. These homemade boxes should be unique
to each individual. Items in a memory box may include:
nostalgic photos, family photos, awards and honors, memorabilia,
reminiscence questions, etc. A sensory box may include
similar items as the memory box, but usually is geared
toward stimulating all six senses. Such items may include:
|Olfactory- cologne, shoe polish, shaving cream, woodchips (cedar, hickory, mesquite) etc.|
|Tactile- sandpaper, necktie, pocket watch, comb, work gloves, paintbrush, etc.|
|Auditory- marching or military music or favorite genre, sounds of nature/animals, etc.|
|Visual- nostalgic and family photos, personal memorabilia, etc.|
|Gustatory- various food and drinks in accordance with the resident’s diet|
|Kinesthetic- simple jigsaw puzzles, variety of balls, blocks of wood for sanding, etc.|
There are other types of kits the facility can create (especially with the help from male staff, family and volunteers). Kits and boxes can be made for any type of hobby or occupation. Please remember to create boxes that are safe for the residents! Some examples include:
|Tool Box- fill a plastic tool box with items such as a paintbrush, tape measurer, large nuts/bolts, sandpaper, leveler, etc.|
|Backpack- fill a backpack with camping/hiking gear such as a mess kit, canteen, compass, flashlight, binoculars, etc.|
|Tackle Box- fill a plastic tackle box with items such as fishing lures, reels, small rod, bobbers, etc. (remove all hooks)|
|Cooler- fill a small cooler with sporting event items such as: water bottle, binoculars, pictures of sports teams, sunglasses, vintage beer ads, baseball cap, a variety of small, soft sports balls (soccer ball, baseball, basketball, hockey puck, etc.).|
|The Feel and Describe Box- find a medium-sized cardboard box. Cut a hole (large enough for a hand to easily fit through). Paint or cover the box with contact paper (preferably paper with a wood-style). Fill the box with a variety of items such as those listed above. Have the men reach in and describe what they are feeling.|
|Table games (cards, dominoes, backgammon, checkers)|
|Socials, parties, happy hour, special events|
|Movies (Westerns, comedies, war movies, mysteries)|
|Political debates and discussions|
|Reminiscence of war times or military|
|Men’s health educational programs (Men’s Health Week is June 11-17, 2007)|
|Ping pong and billiards|
|Leather crafts, soap sculptures, men’s magazine scavenger hunt|
|Going to the Barber|
|Fantasy football and baseball, etc.|
|Leisure Education (learn new skill such as rope tying, how to play Chess, etc)|
It is important for Recreation Professionals to identify the needs and interests of the male population and to formulate an activities component in the comprehensive care plan. Take advantage of those products out there that can help enhance programming and recruit as many male volunteers, family members, and staff as possible. There are so many activities that can be provided for the men in health care facilities. Many of the activities discussed in this article can be adapted to suit the various cognitive and physical abilities of the resident. Such examples include:
|The fisherman may enjoy watching a fishing video, tinkering with a tackle box, playing a game of Monopoly Bass Fishing, or looking at the fish tank|
|The hunter/outdoorsman may enjoy watching the birds, listening to the sounds of nature, sifting through a Field and Stream magazine, investigating the backpack, or the aroma of pine.|
|The sports fan may enjoy adapted physical games such as bowling and basketball, watching sports on TV., trips to a game, playing a soccer video game, or looking up at the Yankee’s Mobile hanging above his bed|
|The trucks and car lover may enjoy remote controlled cars, watching auto racing, joining an on-line car club, going to a car show, sitting behind the wheel of a It’s Never 2 Late computer game, or doing a car puzzle.|
|The handyman may enjoy fiddling with wood blocks, helping the maintenance department in hanging a picture, sorting through an array of nuts and bolt in the toolbox, creating a pipe sculpture, building a model airplane, etc.|
|The business man may enjoy county fake money, organizing receipts, punching numbers on a calculator, balancing a checkbook, monitoring the stock market or reading the New York Times.|
Masonic Pathways Senior Living Services. (December,
2001). A walk down memory lane. Point to
Point, pg. 9.