No matter the age, men enjoy hanging out with other men. Some favorite male pastimes might include drinking beer, watching sports, building things and, yes, commiserating about the women in their lives. While some women also enjoy these activities, for men, there is something to be said about hanging out with “the guys.”
In most retirement communities, female residents outnumber male residents. This certainly is the case at Country Meadows where women outnumber men three to one. The reason is simple: Women live longer than men. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an American man will live on average to the age of 76 while women live to 81.
Country Meadows’ campuses host men’s groups for male residents to join in camaraderie, creating an outlet for men to engage together in favorite hobbies, talk about similar interests and simply spend time with other men. (It is important to note that Country Meadows also has many activities designed for the ladies, but this story is for the guys!)
“Men get lonely and want companionship, just as the women do. The men’s groups help them to develop friendships, to have a drinking buddy at Happy Hour, to discuss their experiences during their military service with someone who understands and someone just to chew the fat with,” says Bonnie Geisinger, Director of Dynamic Living-Country Meadows of York.
Men tend to gravitate toward activities such as building projects, competitive social games, clubs to share interests and food-based gatherings. At Country Meadows, men’s groups are typically hosted by male co-workers. While many groups are simply times for men to gather over a meal or snacks to discuss current events and happenings, many men’s groups are based on particular activities such as woodworking or playing billiards.
These groups are important. According to the American Geriatrics Society, men’s top three fears of aging are physical weakness, dependence on others and loss of purpose. Participating in activities and entertainment is associated with positive physical and mental health.
Members of the men’s group at the Frederick campus enjoy spending time together doing fun things they did during their younger days.
Campus Director of Dynamic Living, Melanie Long, says, “Our men’s group enjoys getting together. They get subs, pizza and chit-chat about life. We recently had a beer tasting they really enjoyed! They are planning outings to go fishing and to the driving range to hit golf balls and while on campus, they enjoy playing horseshoes and pool.”
At Country Meadows of Allentown, the men’s group formed a woodworking club. The group’s annual main project is to build a wooden dollhouse they donate to a child in need.
“We liked to work around our houses and we like to work here,” says a woodworking club member, adding, “It’s fun to get together with the other men because we’re so greatly outnumbered!”
At the Bethlehem campus, the men’s group is led by the chaplain. “Our men’s group encourages the men to lean on a team who is raising you up, which is much more effective and encouraging than sorting through life difficulties on your own,” says campus Director of Dynamic Living, Angela Zicker.
An Australian study explored the need for men’s groups. The data revealed that the need for male-focused community programs to reduce isolation and help men form friendships and engage in continued learning and social opportunities.
Co-workers agree that the main goal to improve the overall well-being of male residents is accomplished by hosting these groups.
A co-worker notes, “Having a men’s group is important because we want the men to be more involved here at Country Meadows. Since we have a lot of women here, we make opportunities for the men to interact with each other and get involved.”