I thought I would give a report on the first ‘men’s group’ session at the nursing home I have done for a while. I was really pleased with the participation and engagement of the 4 participants. We did so many different things that 3 out of the 4 men were asleep by the end of the 90 minutes as they were exhausted.
I brought a suitcase full of ‘conversation starters’ ( mixed items) which kept things moving and changing as we had our own blokey ‘show and tell’. It also allowed me to determine the interests and capabilities of each man for future sessions.
The tasks we tried were as follows:
old fashioned manual pencil sharpening
electric pencil sharpening
polishing tarnished silver items with brasso eg candle holder, tongs, ice bucket
indoor fishing from the ice bucket (complete with tangles and hooking items)
Smelling different incense sticks
Indoor bowling with tube/tennis ball (for men in princess chair)
Sorting wallplugs into holders
Swiss army knife ( we spent ages pulling out each feature of the knife – they loved this)
I conducted a few races & challenges, with the men with good cognition/movement using manual pencil sharpeners racing against men with limitations using the electric pencil sharpener. I also did a timed event with ‘The General’ where he had to place 15 wallplugs into a plastic holder within 1 minute. He did this several times and counted aloud for every wallplug he inserted. The highlight was opening as many functions of the Swiss army knife as we could and discovering the secret items which were a pin, a pen, a toothpick and some tweezers.
The conversations were great as well and there were plenty of laughs and smiles. ‘The General’ was cracking jokes with me as we did the pencil sharpening task and would say things like “it’s great to see you getting to the point” and “you are very sharp today”.
Bob actually stayed awake for the entire 90 mins and smiled constantly.( he normally sleeps heavily through this time).
A great first session and what I learnt was that it was real handy to have a heap of activity options at my disposal to keep changing things up and holding the men’s interest.