This week marks Men’s Health Week (15-21 June 2020) an international week-long initiative to raise awareness of the mental and physical health issues often experienced by men and to shine a light on what communities can do to better support men's health goals.
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 Gardens Bundaberg Community Manager Stephanie Dobbin said their community’s men’s shed has been a wonderful way to bring residents together in a social environment, and the community supports raising more awareness of men’s health needs.
“We focus on making our community a safe and supportive place to be and a big part of that is encouraging residents to build social connections with each other,” Ms Dobbin said.
“We have a higher number of female residents in our community, so it’s fantastic to see our male residents engage with one another in social activities and groups, like the men’s shed.
Men's Shed keeps residents socially active
“One of our residents, Jim Christensen, started the men’s shed as a community gathering place where men can come together and find a purpose and sense of belonging.”
84-year-old Mr Christensen runs the men’s shed where the community’s male residents work together on projects and help out with small maintenance jobs for their neighbours.
“Being part of the men’s shed keeps me socially active and busy which I think is an important way to stay healthy,” Mr Christensen said.
“The men’s shed enhances my sense of purpose, and for those of us that meet there, we take great pride from our work and the friendships we’ve formed here.
“It’s a place where men can feel comfortable to share with other men, however if women want to share a yarn they are certainly welcome.”
He believes there is more that can be done to support men’s health issues, and that the support from Ingenia Gardens has made a huge difference to the community.
Ingenia Gardens’ Activate social and lifestyle program and community groups around shared interests are just a few ways in which the community is helping to address physical and mental health issues year-round.
“Men seem to ignore signs and try to carry on despite not feeling their best and we should be encouraging each other to seek support from people we trust when we need it,” Mr Christensen said.
To find out more about Ingenia Gardens Bundaberg visit their website.
* Relationships Australia, 2018, Is Australia experiencing an epidemic of loneliness?
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