Many of the men we care for love traditional male pursuits. Trips to the pub and to car, plane and bike exhibitions are all top of their list – and they like to look their best too. Living in a care home is no barrier to them enjoying lifelong hobbies and interests – or even trying something new.
Our teams are always supporting male residents to do the activities they love. Here are some of the ways male residents have been making each day count at Care UK.
Planes, (trains) and automobiles
Residents choose the places they like to visit, and when some of the gentlemen from Abney Court in Cheadle were asked where they’d like to go, it was the Avro Museum at Woodford, an aeronautical museum, that was top of their list. The museum has war planes and simulators, which were a huge hit for the men who went along.
Male residents from Sherwood Grange in Kingston recently visited the Imperial War Museum – one resident was a tank driver in the Kings Hussars, so it brought back many memories for him. Other male residents from Sherwood Grange recently enjoyed a ‘Boys and Toys’ trip to the Motorcycle Show at the Excel Exhibition Centre as one resident used to race bikes as a hobby, and another built his own bike from scratch.
Roy, a resident from Colne View near Colchester, has fulfilled his wish to see a restored Spitfire at the Imperial War Museum’s air museum at Duxford. Roy recently received the RAF Veteran’s Badge for his service in the Second World War as part of the Medical Corps.
Join the club
Many Care UK homes have set up gentlemen's clubs, giving male residents the opportunity to get together and socialise. At Sherwood Grange the men enjoy a regular pub lunch out in the many establishments in and around Kingston. Lunch is often followed by pub games.
Some Care UK homes have their own pub rooms, to help create a sense of having an outing for those residents who may find it harder to get out and about. These bars are very close to the real thing, with working optics and pumps, snacks, snooker or pool tables, darts and pub games. The homes use them for quizzes and events, and residents can even enjoy a ‘pub lunch’ with their relatives.
At Cleves Place in Haverhill the team have created a gentlemen's space where male residents can relax and read books of interest, play old vinyl records on a record player, and even have a game of snooker.
The home has held a very popular (and competitive) pub games tournament, and male residents regularly visit social events in the town.
Games are a big theme of the gentlemen’s club at Kenilworth Grange in Warwickshire where residents were joined by one of the chefs for a game of backgammon.
Sport is particularly powerful for male residents when it comes to reigniting positive memories.
At Priors House in Leamington Spa there are a number of residents with sporting backgrounds, including former professional rugby player Tim Drew, who played for the Harlequins, and later Roselin Park.
Home manager Francine Summers said: “Residents are at the heart of everything we do here, and when we found about a number of residents’ passion for sport and Tim’s history, we knew we had to do something special” So ‘Gents on Tour’ was set up – a special social initiative to enable male residents to enjoy a calendar of sporting fixtures, kicking off with a trip to Wembley and to Wasps vs Harlequin at Ricoh Stadium. Joined by a fourth gent from our sister home, Highmarket House in Banbury, a fantastic day was had by all. Not only did they enjoy watching all the action, but it was a positive opportunity to spark happy memories by reminiscing about their time playing the glorious game. The gentlemen also get together for a beer and a chat.
The men who we care for have worked their whole lives and can often miss the status and routine this has given them. At Perry Manor, one gentleman who used to run his own company and is now living with dementia, often sits in the manager’s office and organises paperwork and folders, which helps him to feel useful and valued.
James, a resident at Brook Court in Kidderminster, also enjoys keeping busy by helping around the home. “I’m the concierge some days and I deliver the post,” he says. Danny, at Priors House, leads a regular dance class for residents, relatives and colleagues.
A wealth of gentlemen throughout our homes enjoy helping the maintenance teams with different tasks, or keeping the gardens looking fantastic. At Cleves Place, gentlemen help to cut the grass and water the plants and there’s an old jalopy car they can tinker with if they wish. At Sandfields, in Cheltenham, the maintenance team always welcome a helping hand on their routine checks.
Making new friends
Making new friends and feeling connected to the community is just as important for male residents as it is for female residents. And at Chandler Court in Bromsgrove, the gentlemen have been getting to know other mature men from the community through the home’s sponsorship of the local Age UK ‘Men in Sheds’ group. ‘Men in Sheds’ offers a support network for older men, giving them access to a shared ‘shed’ workshop space where they can do woodwork sessions, continue hobbies and make new friends.
Residents have been getting together with the scheme’s members – known as ‘shedders’ – at the home for workshop sessions and social events. The shedders have even made a bench for the home’s garden as a thank you for supporting them.
Look good, feel good
Everyone likes to look their best, and Care UK’s gentlemen residents are no exception. A growing number of our homes are using the services of local dementia-friendly barbers, enabling male residents to enjoy a trim and/or a shave in a supportive environment.
Three of our Midlands homes – Mercia Grange, Highmarket House and Priors House – are now using the stylish styling services of Tom Roberts, a dementia-friendly Birmingham barber. Tom puts on old vinyl records to bring back memories for the gents as they have their hair cut. Afterwards, the men at Mercia Grange settle down with beers and nibbles in the café. Tom has even donated one of his barber chairs to the Mercia Grange hair salon.
Martin Murphy, the ‘Football Barber’, does the same for male residents at Cairdean House in Edinburgh. He also brings with him a memory box filled with Scottish football memorabilia for residents to browse through.
Gillian Goodall, home manager at Cairdean House, says: “Many residents here take huge pride in their appearance. Martin’s football memorabilia brings back lots of memories for residents. As well as helping them to look better, he helps them to feel better.”