It’s no secret that older men can be more stubborn when it comes to their health, and are less likely than women to seek help, but at least one lifestyle community is seeing men take a step in the right direction.
Studies have shown that as men age, their rate of loneliness tends to be much higher than that of women, with significant mental and physical health benefits found when men maintained their social activity and social networks through retirement.
Ingenia Lifestyle Chambers Pines community manager Ian Thompson said the encouragement and inclusive approach towards activities and events at the community had successfully seen men break down those barriers.
“It’s the old case of breaking down taboos and stereotypes, particularly for the older generation who were more restricted by what a ‘real man’ is and how a ‘real man’ should behave,” said Mr Thompson.
“While we hold men’s snooker nights and have a resident that hosts gyms sessions that several men like to get involved in, there are plenty of other mixed events and activities they can be part of.
“Our community shed which is available to all residents, has been really successful in providing some of the men here with a safe and comfortable environment.
“I think it’s a setting that a lot of the men are familiar with and grew up around, so it provides common ground for some of those more in-depth conversations to take place.”
Mr Thompson said some of the concerns that can arise when men age and make this kind of lifestyle change – they worry about losing their own shed or domain, which represents a big part of their daily routine.
“I think that’s made the men feel very comfortable, knowing they’re not going to be laughed at, and that it’s absolutely acceptable for them to join in pool aerobics or line dancing – and several of them do.”
Grant Lucinsky said the community shed was a good attraction.
“For us men, it’s an escape to come into our own creative space and make things and chat with each other. You never know where the conversation will turn, and you can always ask questions,” Mr Lucinsky said.
“It’s extremely valuable to us in that sense. But it’s also very satisfying and purposeful for us because we’re able to create something of our own and a lend a hand to others.
“There are also some folks who don’t have the skill or know-how to make things like a planter box – it’s great that they can just ask one of their neighbours to make it for them or teach them how to make it from scratch.”
“You meet other people that you wouldn’t have crossed paths if you hadn’t been part of the community shed and we tell stories and get to know each other – sometimes we’re just down there trying to solve the world’s problems.”