Life after retirement can be a lonely one. However with the rise of the Australian idea of Men’s Shed older men are finding ways to make new connections as well as put a life time of practical skills to work.
Statistics from Age UK tells us that 1 in 10 people aged 65 or over say they often feel lonely. The NHS, meanwhile, tells us that for more than 5 million older people television is the main form of company they have. This can have a dramatic impact; it can lead to a serious decline in physical and mental well-being. Indeed one study, reported on by the guardian, found that loneliness can be twice as unhealthy as obesity with the most lonely found to have a 14% increased risk of dying compared to the least lonely.
My elderly neighbour regularly heads off to The Women’s Institute (WI) and it’s clear that doing so has been good for her. Until recently there has been little in the way of a WI alternative aimed at men or even both genders. There have been attempts – a National Men’s Institute was set up in 2011 by a man who was told he couldn’t join the WI. However this Men’s Institute remains small.
Men’s Sheds is a rapidly growing answer to the problem of loneliness in older me. A Men’s shed is a garden shed on a larger scale. The idea is much like the idear of the man of the house spending his weekend working on some woodwork to unwind. However at a Men’s Shed there are opportunities to work together and share skills.
The result is that men can be less lonely, make friends and develop their skills and interests. There are now over 1400 Men’s Sheds worldwide making a real difference. If you are interested you can find your local here.