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Men's Group keeping isolation at bay

Changing demographics in residential aged care at MercyCare in Wembley has prompted the establishment of a new men’s group which is proving popular for elderly male residents.

Since the group was introduced, MercyCare’s male residents have been meeting regularly to share a cuppa and have a chat amongst friends, with the focus on boosting their emotional health and wellbeing, and reducing the risk of loneliness and isolation.

MercyCare’s Pastoral Care team Damian Gorian and Mark Shaw created the group after noticing the demographics of the residents were starting to change, with a growing number of men moving into the traditionally female-dominated home.

"What concerned us was that many of the male residents tended to avoid taking part in group activities, which we felt increased the risk of them becoming withdrawn," Mark explained. 

"Men typically keep things close to their chest, so it’s important for them to have a chance to share their thoughts and experiences, have a chat, make some new friends and reflect on their past, within a safe and social environment."

Mark said the group was a simple concept, but the residents had embraced it.

"Our activities are varied, we’ve had some trivia quizzes, stories and games, with one resident even sharing stories he’s written with others in the group; and there’s a lot of reminiscing about the past – we’re guided by whatever the residents feel like doing," he said.