Unique Activities for Men in Senior Living

In most senior communities, women residents outnumber the men. It’s a fact of life for most activity directors, but planning for men’s activities is also a must. Here are some ideas for successful men’s programming.

These men spent their youth as the family breadwinner. They may have been caught in a war draft, perhaps were the first in their family to go to college, and struggled to understand their children’s ‘hippie’ views.

Their lives centered on family, work and when time permitted, hobbies and clubs. In looking into activities for men begin by asking about their former hobbies and work.

Did they enjoy sports, dancing, music, cards? Find ways to incorporate these interests into ongoing programs from bringing an antique car show to your facility to creating an on-site VFW style hang out where the men can talk guy stuff.

In addition, ask if they were Rotary or Lions Club members and/or if they served as deacons at church or coaches for local youth sports teams.

Man picking fruit with his granddaughter
Hinterhaus Productions / DigitalVision / Getty Images

Program Suggestions for Senior Men

  1. Sports
    1. Men’s groups can travel to see professional games but they can also travel locally to watch Little League games and enjoy an inter-generational afternoon. They can enjoy fishing through outings to public parks and indoors the fishing programs on Wii can be fun. They can watch the Sunday game in a hang-out room for ‘men only’ where they can enjoy munchies and women free conversations.
  2. Dancing
    1. They can dance with female residents in the Senior Prom, an evening party, or they can chair dance once a week in a chair dancing program.
  3. Music
    1. Men can select the music played in the dining room, can have a group discussion of famous musicians and can sing, whistle and play music.
  4. Work-Related Activities
    1. Work was an important part of their lives. Former teachers can tutor the staff’s children with homework. Male residents can build birdhouses and bird feeders, work in the garden, paint murals, and build model airplanes and call numbers for bingo games.
  5. Create a Romeo Club
    1. This can be a special meeting place and time for the guys to talk about their brides, the one who got away etc. Serve food and make it their own private time.
  6. Science
    1. Buy motor kits for building simple machines and for those with dementia buy small appliances at flea markets and let the men take them apart.
  7. Handymen
    1. Ask the maintenance department workers to allow the male residents to watch the workers changing light bulbs, painting hallways etc. These members of the ‘resident crew’ will feel part of the team even if they only say, “You missed a spot.”
  8. Religion
    1. Men can lead Bible study, give testimony at the church service or be a cantor at the Friday Jewish service. Many people with dementia remember Bible passages, hymns, and even Hebrew.
  9. Clubs
    1. Ask the Rotary, the Lions, the Knights of Columbus to occasionally meet in your facility. The clubs get a meeting space and your residents get to be a member of a club again.

Find an empty corner of a hallway or a room and finish it as a men’s place. A bar counter, tables, and chairs, fishing poles in the corner, a toolbox and men’s magazines a TV and DVD with stacks of men’s movies on a set of shelves. Sometimes the best activity for retired men is a place where the men can be together.

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Article Sources
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  1. Population Reference Bureau. Fact Sheet: Aging in the United States. Updated July 15, 2019