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Hi! My name is Julie, and I'm a Certified Activities Director from Massachusetts. I write a column for New Day magazine and I'm looking for any ideas my fellow Activities Professionals may have for new articles. Please share anything you might be thinking of...resident-related, career-related, anything having to do with programming, staffing- my job at the magazine is basically to answer questions and research issues that Activities Professionals may have...I would really love any input that you can give me. Thank you! :-D

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Guest Tinki

Hello Julie,


I always want to see new and creative ways to entertain our gentlemen residents!



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Guest marti

hello i am new in here

i would like to know any ideas for some new activities. i hope you all can help with some. thank you. ;-)

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Hi, Julie! :-D


The questions I get via e-mail generally concern "activity ideas" and "certification information." Most of the activity idea inquiries are about men's activities and dementia activities. The certification questions are generally about home study or online courses. I have tried to answer these questions in various ways on my website, The Activity Director's Office, and I invite you to take a look at the pages and articles for some ideas.


Hope this helps you out.

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Guest Jacks

Hi, my names Jacquelyn and i've been an AD for roughly 2 yrs now and i absolutely agree with finding more "men friendly" activites. It's a little tougher to please the guys with some of the day to day activities...

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Hi, Jacks! :-)


BOYS' NIGHT OUT: Ideas for Men's Activities


The male resident or client can sometimes pose a special challenge to the activity professional in terms

of developing programs of interest and motivation to attend programs. Male residents in long term care

communities are in the minority and in most cases, their needs and interests are different than the

masses of female residents who reside in the facility. The activity professional and program should

reflect some effort to address these needs through tailored and group programming.


To first understand the male resident, one must understand what generation they have come from.

Growing up during the 1920’s through the 1960’s was much different than it is today. The men of that

generation were a dominant force in all aspects of life. They were the bread winners, bosses, managers,

owners, mayors, and overall decision makers in the home and society. They equated their worth with

their accomplishments, their strength and ability to protect others. They had jobs that had a tangible

outcome and other people often depended upon them for a service, support or protection. Even in the

family, the husband or father assumed a dominant role. This was before women’s liberation and the

wife and mother often deferred to the husband in all decisions regarding money, raising the children or

home. This was the life they knew.


Today, these male residents are now residing in a community because they need help. They have lost

their independence and are no longer the provider or protector. To make matters worse, they are being

cared for by women (for the most part, as male care givers in health care are also less in numbers). The

male resident sometimes reacts by withdrawing from the mainstream of events. They see a facility filled

with women and make the decision they cannot or won’t fit in. In other cases, they may become

argumentative and demanding, possibly as means to reassert their authority and control. And then there

are the few men who do adjust and join programs easily.


To address the needs of the male resident, the activity professional can develop “gender specific”

activities. Our calendars abound with activities for women –cooking, crafts and the infamous “Red Hat

Society”. We must also make sure there are ample activities for the men. Scheduling separate activities

for men is sometimes not easy because of staffing or space. However, ensuring that the men have a

role within regularly scheduled activities as well as special groups is important.


Craft groups: Having a workshop area for the men who come to crafts is important. When the men see

a group of women working with yarn, pompoms and the typical feminine craft items, they may not even

enter the room. Defining a “workshop” for the men with appropriate male oriented crafts is encouraged.

Working with wood, paint, tile, leather and similar items may be more welcome. Most craft catalogs are

filled with pages of more manly oriented crafts.


Discussion groups: Providing the male resident with a leadership role within daily programs is a

successful approach. Possibly the male resident could be responsible for obtaining the newspaper from

the front lobby and delivering it to the program area. During current events, having a male resident be the

“weatherman” and report on weather conditions could be another role. We think of many “hostess”

oriented roles for our female residents, we need to think of suitable “leader” roles for our male residents.


Exercise programs: Scheduling a “men’s gym or workout” might be of interest to the male residents.

Introducing light weights or light gym equipment would be more appealing to the male resident.

Focusing on repetitions and increasing strength, and monitoring progress on a chart is often appreciated

by the male resident.


Active games: Games that have a tangible quality and equipment are often well received by the male

population. Bowling, basketball, target toss and similar games with equipment are effective. Keeping

the equipment adult-like and as close to the original format as possible is recommended. Many of the

senior catalogs such as S & S, Nasco, Sea Bay and Sportime have great supplies.












Creating teams and keeping score are also more appreciated by the male resident. Creating a men’s

bowling league and contacting nearby care facilities for a shared tournament has also been successful.


Trips into the community: Locations for trips of interest to men include local sporting events, fishing

expeditions, museums with male oriented topics (war, sporting, nature), and a local “man’s” bar for

lunch. One of the more successful trips for my male residents was taking them to the local Ford or

Chevrolet car dealership when the new car models arrived. I would make pre-arrangements with the

salesmen and they were willing to spend time with the residents showing the new models and looking

under the hood.


Sensory/Diversional Programming: Ensuring there are male interest oriented sensory baskets which

include fishing, sports, cars, and other items of interest to the cognitively impaired man should be

developed appropriately. Having diversional items of interest for men such as bolt boards, pipe works,

sorting baseball cards, and sanding wood should also be available as defined by the resident interest.


Interest clubs: Scheduling a “Men’s Club” is one way, but not the only way, to offer programs of interest

to the male resident. A regular men’s club is recommended for every calendar. Seeking a male staff

member or volunteer to coordinate the program is also highly recommended. The club content can be

self directed, defining topics of interest or directed by the group leader. Louise Whitley,

(LWhitney@JewishHomeRoch.org) a social worker in NY State, introduced a program called the “Plaid

Flannel Shirt Society” for her male clients. Of course, this evolved in response to the “Red Hat Society” for

the women. She wrote a wonderful poem “When I am an old man…” as a motto for the group. http://www.



There are two books about programming for male residents in long term care.


Gentlemen’s Gatherings which can be obtained from Gary Grimm Publishing



Barbers, Cars and Cigars which can be obtained from Eldersong




Many companies have lots of trivia and reminiscent materials of interest to male residents also. Creative

Forecasting has a monthly column which lists a variety of activity ideas focusing on male interests. They

often follow a seasonal or holiday theme. http://www.creativeforecasting.net/

Let Debbie answer your

Activity Questions





About Debbie


Debbie Hommel, BA, CRA, ACC, is

the Executive Director of DH Special

Services. She is a Certified Activity

Consultant on State and National

level, with over twenty-seven years of

experience in providing direct care

and consultation to long term care,

medical day care, assisted living,

and ICF/MR facilities throughout New

Jersey, New York, Maryland, and

Pennsylvania. She is an experienced

trainer and workshop presenter,

conducting a variety of seminars

throughout the Tri-State area for the

Activity Professional, Administrator,

and allied healthcare professional.

Debbie Hommel is an active member

of Activity Professional Associations

on State and National levels. She is

ACC certified through the NCCAP.

She is a founding member of the

New Jersey Activity Professionals'

Association, serving terms as Vice

President and President. She

received the Weidner Lifetime

Achievement Award in 1994 and the

Monmouth & Ocean County Activity

Professionals Life Achievement

Award in 1999.

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