A PLACE FOR MEN
While loneliness in old age is often perceived to be a women’s issue, men are equally at risk of suffering due to a lack of social connections. When Ken Burger, 82, of Kelowna, B.C., retired at the age of 75, he missed the camaraderie of working with others, using his hands and mind and having a sense of accomplishment in his day. “I was getting very depressed just sitting around and doing nothing and then I spent a month in the hospital being treated for depression,” he says. “Then I found out about the Men’s Shed group – I was hooked right away.” After joining the Okanagan Men’s Shed, Burger got a new lease on life. Twice a week, he and about 30 fellow members get together to work on projects of their choosing. “The group helped pull me out my depression,” he says. Originating in Australia, Men’s Sheds promote social interaction and reduce depression. It’s a communal workspace where men work with their hands – refinish furniture, repair a small engine, build a birdhouse – and socialize with other men. It’s a space to build and create – and to keep minds and bodies active. There are more than 900 chapters around the world, including 10 in Canada. To find a Men’s Shed near you, menssheds.ca.