Re-Creative Resources
By Kimberly Grandal, BA, CTRS, ACC, Executive Director
http://www.recreativeresources.com/index.htm
Kimberly Grandal,
BA, CTRS, ACC

Kimberly Grandal, Founder
and Executive Director of Re-
Creative Resources, Inc., is a
strong advocate for the field
of Therapeutic Recreation
and Activities, with over fifteen
years of experience working
with the elderly in numerous
management and consultant
positions.  She is an Activity
Consultant Certified and a
Certified Therapeutic
Recreation Specialist. Kim is
a member of the New Jersey
Activity Professionals
Association and the New
Jersey/Eastern Pennsylvania
Therapeutic Recreation
Association.

In 1990, Kim graduated from
William Paterson University
with a BA in Sociology and
later studied gerontology
courses at Union County
College and Therapeutic
Recreation courses at Kean
University. Throughout her
career, Kim has been the
Director of Therapeutic
Recreation for several long-
term care facilities, including
one of NJ’s largest.

In 2006, Kim founded Re-
Creative Resources Inc. She
is a speaker for various state
and local activity associations
such as NJAPA, MOCAP, and
NJACA, as well as the Society
of Licensed Nursing Home
Administrators of NJ. She
also offers lectures for Re-
Creative Resources Inc.,
local colleges, and
community groups, and
provides consultation and
support to numerous
facilities in the state.

Kim is the editor and writer
for the “The Rec-Room", a
monthly newsletter published
by her company. In addition,
she writes monthly articles
for the Activity Directors Office
newsletter, and has
contributed articles to
Creative Forecasting
Magazine, and The
Continuing Care Insite
newsletter.

Kim is a recipient of the
Kessler Institute of
Rehabilitation 1997 Triumph
of the Human Spirit Award.  
Her passion is to promote
the field of Therapeutic
Recreation and Activities and
to unite Recreation
Therapists and Activity
Professionals. Kim currently
serves on the NJAPA board
as the Chairperson for the
Legislation Committee.
KIM GRANDAL
THE ACTIVITY DIRECTOR
Providing Internet Resources
for Activity Professionals
in Long Term Care Settings
admin@theactivitydirectorsoffice.com

Copyright 2004-Present
The Activity Director's Office
All Rights Reserved

Disclaimer
About
Re-Creative
Resources Inc.

Re-Creative Resources, Inc.
is committed to enhancing
the lives of long-term care
residents through the use of
Therapeutic Recreation. We
provide a variety of services
such as Therapeutic
Recreation seminars,
in-services, resources, form
development, program
analysis and development,
consultation, and support for
activity professionals and
recreational therapists. A
selection of downloadable
training materials and forms
are available for your
convenience as well as a free
job posting site.
Don’t Be Lost. Read the M.A.P.!
Men’s Activity Programs in Health-Care Facilities
By Kimberly Grandal, CTRS, ACC

Getting Started

Although “all men are created equal”, Recreation Professionals face the trials and tribulations of
meeting the needs and interests of a diverse population. Traditionally there are many more
women than men in health care facilities.  Activity calendars often reflect an abundance of
activities that are female-oriented such as crafts, cooking, domestic activities, and beauty
groups, with the occasional Men’s Club making an appearance.  It is extremely important to
overcome this challenge and provide programming that is specially designed for the male
population.

Morris Mandel once said, “No two men are alike, and both of them are happy for it.” Men, just like
women, have a variety of leisure and recreational interests so it is impossible to develop a “one-
size-fits all” approach. However, the men in our health care facilities may find interest in some of
the following : sports, cars, trucks, trains, boats, planes, outdoor work, building, woodworking,
painting,  politics, military, police, fire and rescue workers, fishing/hunting, nature and outdoors,
animals, music, movies, physical games, exercise, community trips, children, board games,
collections (coins, stamps, sports cards, matchbox cards, model trains, etc.) and parlor/casino
games.  Many of these activities need to be adapted for the individual male participant, but if we
are creative we can accommodate these needs and leisure activity interests.
The first place to start is with a Population Analysis.  How many men reside in your facility or
attend your day program?  What is the percentage?  Then look at your Activity Calendar and
compare the percentage of female-oriented activities versus male oriented activities.  Many
activities, such as physical games, exercise, socials, parlor games, and music are of interest to
both genders, however, chances are you are not offering enough activities that truly appeal to
men.  

Next, review the initial Activity Assessments of all the men to determine their leisure interests,
needs, and abilities.  Organize a men’s committee or council that meets once a month to discuss
programming ideas, options, funding, resources, etc.  Create an organized group for the men
such as the MACs (Men’s Activity Council), or ask the men to come up with an official name. It
could be something that just sounds good with the facility name such as the Kessler Kings, the
Bayside Bulls, or the Ocean View Vikings.

The Planning Phase

With the establishment of an official men’s council or club underway, begin planning a series of
activities, special events, fundraisers, and trips in accordance with the council’s ideas, and the
functional abilities of the male population. Determine how often male-oriented programs should
be provided.  Many activities can be incorporated into the regular calendar of events with the
men in mind.  For example: word games, discussion groups, and trivia can easily be adapted to
interest the men simply by offering various themes (Sports Hangman, Famous Men Discussion,
Automobile Trivia) etc.  Adapted physical games such as putting, bowling, basketball, target
games, shuffleboard, and horseshoes are often of interest to the men and may be incorporated
into the schedule of activities for men and women as well.


Although many regularly scheduled activities may be adapted or altered to meet the interests of
the men, it is also important to have separate “men-only” activities such as the Men’s Club.  
Some facilities have monthly, bi-monthly, or weekly meetings.  How often this program is offered
is based on the unique needs and interests of the men in your facility.  Have the men organize
and implement fundraisers to raise money for special outings (sporting events, bowling, fishing,
putting greens), equipment, special games, supplies, Men’s Club t-shirts and hats, etc.
Fundraising examples include car washes, craft sales (birdhouses and other wood projects,
leather crafts, etc), raffles of sporting event tickets, Walk/Wheel-A-Thon, and so on.  

Male Staff and Volunteers

Since the Activity and Recreation Profession is a female-dominated one, it very important to
recruit male staff and volunteers to assist in providing a program of activities for the men.  Since
the inception of the revised CMS Activity Guidance to Surveyors in June 2006, there has been a
heightened focus on providing an interdisciplinary approach to quality of life.  The revised
interpretive guidelines for F248 indicate that all facility staff should be involved in providing
meaningful activity.  This is a great opportunity to get the male staff involved. Male staff may be
able to contribute by bringing in old sports magazines, tapes of sporting events, and their own
collections and can assist with facilitating the Men’s Club.  The maintenance personnel (male or
female) can assist in woodworking projects or even take a resident “on rounds”. In addition, many
men would also love to see the boiler room or workshop if accessible and safe for the residents.

Volunteer recruitment is also another way to enhance the facilities’ men’s program. There are so
many local, state, and national clubs, groups, committees, etc. that can be contacted.  Male
volunteers may be found in churches (men in ministry programs), schools (debate club, sports,
politics, wood-shop, auto-shop) universities (men’s clubs, fraternities, sports clubs), community
groups (VFW, American Legion, Elks, Kiwanis, Jaycees, YMCA, Big Brothers, 4H Club, various
culture-oriented clubs etc. Some national programs include the Federation of Jewish Men and
the National Coalition of Free Men.  Another suggestion is to contact various sports and hobbies
organizations and clubs.  For example, a local coin collection club or baseball card collector may
be willing to show their collection and give a presentation.  Many individuals who have a
collection are more than happy to show off their treasures! There is a club and organization for
just about anything (fishing, hunting, camping, model trains, all sports, various collections, etc.)
and may have people who would be interested in providing demonstrations, educational
sessions, or becoming friendly-visitors.

Technology

The use of arcade games, video games, and computers
provide recreation professionals the tools needed to offer
a large array of programs that are of particular interest to
men. All types of leisure activities are now available in the
form of video games and computer games such as all sports,
driving a car, riding a motorcycle, jet skiing, flying a plane,
casino games, etc. Technology has really made it more
accessible for individuals with varying degrees of physical
and cognitive abilities to engage in their favorite past times.
It's Never 2 Late is a company that offers state-of-the-art
computer systems for health-care facilities throughout
America. Their computers, adaptive devices, specially-
designed programs, and technical support, are ideal for
men and women in health care facilities.  The facility can
customize services to match the uniqueness of each
individual.  Through the IN2L system, men can engage in
familiar and fun activities such as flying a plane and driving
a car (photos on the right).  For more information
visit
It's Never 2 Late.

Therapeutic Environments:

Creating an environment that is conducive to men is an
innovative way to increase the quality of life of the men in
health care facilities.  There is a great article by Keith
Bettany from the Alzheimer’s Association in Australia,
entitled
“Blokes and Sheds: Meaningful Activities for Men
with Dementia in Aged Care Facilities”. This article discusses
the importance of sheds for the male population and how
many men enjoy “tinkering” with the tools and equipment in
a shed.  The article gives ideas on how to build a shed or
create a “shed area” in your facility.

Another example of a male-oriented environment can be
found in the Masonic Health Care Center in Michigan.
The Masonic Health Care Center created Memory Lane,
a series of open-ended rooms (bedroom, kitchen, living
room, back/front porches, bathroom, and attic) in a long
corridor. These “rooms” are representative of a
1930’s-1950’s home.  Two areas of particular interest to
men include a vintage Chevy truck that is literally “sticking
out of the garage” and an attic area. Residents are able to
get into the truck and sit behind the wheel, promoting reminiscence, range of motion and
familiarly.  The attic area is overflowing with vintage knick-knacks and ideal for
residents who enjoy rummaging.  These “rooms”demonstrate that if we think outside the box, we
can create an atmosphere that promotes quality of life for everyone, especially the men.  For
more information visit
Masonic Pathways and Time travel to the '40s-Not-for-Profit Report

There are many other environmental techniques that can be implemented as well such as:

  • Create shadow boxes filled with familiar objects such as tools, fishing gear, camping gear,
    woodworking, electrical, plumbing etc., and display in various locations or in the resident
    rooms.
  • Purchase (or build) interactive boards that have latches, doorknobs, faucets, nuts/bolts,
    pipes, etc. These can be displayed on portable boards or on walls, especially on a
    dementia unit,.
  • Assess the male resident’s room for personalization and stimulation. Display personal
    items via shadowbox, frames, mobiles, etc. Contact the family for personal items such as
    favorite sports team memorabilia, awards, affiliations, hobbies and so on.

Community Outings

Many residents, both men and women, of all levels of functional abilities, enjoy being out in the
community. Outings can be costly for Recreation Departments, but with fundraisers and
innovative strategies, the men can enjoy engaging in events and activities that occur in the
community.  As mentioned earlier, fundraising plays an important role in taking trips to the
community.  Engage the male residents in a series of fundraisers specially designed for male-
bonding outings.  

Although going to professional sporting events is ideal, it is not always an option for the facility.
To increase outings to sporting events, recreation professionals may wish to contact the town
recreation center, schools, and colleges to find out about local sporting events. Attending a
minor league baseball game can be just as much fun, but a lot less expensive for everyone
involved.  Some facilities are located near a field or school and may have the option of wheeling
the residents to a game as well.  These local sporting events are free and require less
transporting, travel, and time.
The men may also enjoy bowling, playing pool, going to an arcade, a putting green, fishing,
joining an organization such as the American Legion, going to a movie or concert, and of course,
dining out. Community outings require extensive planning, assistance, and money, therefore it is
important to recruit volunteers, family members, and staff.

Activities for the Cognitively Impaired

Providing activities for individuals with cognitive impairment is also challenging for Recreation
Professionals, especially for the men.  Activities must be individualized and adapted so that the
male resident can participate at their highest level of ability. Recreation Professionals often ask:
How can I take a male resident fishing or hunting? This is where the creativity and clinical
knowledge comes into play.  

As mentioned earlier, various shadowboxes and interactive boards may be utilized for an
individual with cognitive impairment.  These boards and boxes would be reflective of an individual’
s interests, affiliations and occupation). The facility can make these products or purchase them
through a variety of manufacturers.  

Memory or sensory boxes are also a great way to provide quality of life and person-appropriate
activities for the male residents. There are numerous male-oriented kits available on the market
or facilities can create their own individualized kits simply by requesting items and information
from the resident’s family and friends. These homemade boxes should be unique to each
individual. Items in a memory box may include: nostalgic photos, family photos, awards and
honors, memorabilia, reminiscence questions, etc. A sensory box may include similar items as the
memory box, but usually is geared toward stimulating all six senses. Such items may include:  

  • Olfactory-cologne, shoe polish, shaving cream, woodchips (cedar, hickory, mesquite) etc.
  • Tactile-sandpaper, necktie, pocket watch, comb, work gloves, paintbrush, etc.
  • Auditory-marching or military music or favorite genre, sounds of nature/animals, etc.
  • Visual-nostalgic and family photos, personal memorabilia, etc.
  • Gustatory-various food and drinks in accordance with the resident’s diet
  • Kinesthetic-simple jigsaw puzzles, variety of balls, blocks of wood for sanding, etc.

There are other types of kits the facility can create (especially with the help from male staff,
family and volunteers).  Kits and boxes can be made for any type of hobby or occupation. Please
remember to create boxes that are safe for the residents! Some examples include:

  • Tool Box-fill a plastic tool box with items such as a paintbrush, tape measurer, large
    nuts/bolts, sandpaper, leveler, etc.
  • Backpack-fill a backpack with camping/hiking gear such as a mess kit, canteen, compass,
    flashlight, binoculars, etc.
  • Tackle Box-fill a plastic tackle box with items such as fishing lures, reels,  small rod,
    bobbers, etc. (remove all hooks)
  • Cooler-fill a small cooler with sporting event items such as: water bottle, binoculars,
    pictures of sports teams, sunglasses, vintage beer ads, baseball cap, a variety of small,
    soft sports balls (soccer ball, baseball, basketball, hockey puck, etc.).
  • The Feel and Describe Box-find a medium-sized cardboard box. Cut a hole (large
    enough for a hand to easily fit through). Paint or cover the box with contact paper
    (preferably paper with a wood-style).  Fill the box with a variety of items such as those
    listed above.  Have the men reach in and describe what they are feeling.  

Other Activities of Interest

The following is a list of other activities men may enjoy:

  • Table games (cards, dominoes, backgammon, checkers)
  • Socials, parties, happy hour, special events
  • Movies (Westerns, comedies, war movies, mysteries)
  • Humor activities
  • Political debates and discussions
  • Reminiscence of war times or military
  • Men’s health educational programs (Men’s Health Week is June 11-17, 2007)
  • Ping pong and billiards
  • Competitions
  • Cognitive Games
  • Leather crafts, soap sculptures, men’s magazine scavenger hunt
  • Polishing shoes
  • Barbeques
  • Going to the Barber
  • Fantasy football and baseball, etc.
  • Comic Books
  • Leisure Education (learn new skill such as rope tying, how to play Chess, etc)

In conclusion

It is important for Recreation Professionals to identify the needs and interests of the male
population and to formulate an activities component in the comprehensive care plan.  Take
advantage of those products out there that can help enhance programming and recruit as many
male volunteers, family members, and staff as possible.  There are so many activities that can be
provided for the men in health care facilities. Many of the activities discussed in this article can
be adapted to suit the various cognitive and physical abilities of the resident.  Such examples
include:

  • The fisherman may enjoy watching a fishing video, tinkering with a tackle box, playing a
    game of Monopoly Bass Fishing, or looking at the fish tank
  • The hunter/outdoorsman may enjoy watching the birds, listening to the sounds of nature,
    sifting through a Field and Stream magazine, investigating the backpack, or the aroma of
    pine.
  • The sports fan may enjoy adapted physical games such as bowling and basketball,
    watching sports on TV., trips to a game, playing a soccer video game, or looking up at the
    Yankee’s Mobile hanging above his bed
  • The trucks and car lover may enjoy remote controlled cars, watching auto racing, joining
    an on-line car club, going to a car show, sitting behind the wheel of a It’s Never 2 Late
    computer game, or doing a car puzzle.
  • The handyman may enjoy fiddling with wood blocks, helping the maintenance department
    in hanging a picture,  sorting through an array of nuts and bolt in the toolbox, creating a
    pipe sculpture, building a model airplane, etc.
  • The business man may enjoy county fake money, organizing receipts, punching numbers
    on a calculator, balancing a checkbook, monitoring the stock market or reading the New
    York Times.

So, don’t be lost and afraid to ask for directions.  Take out the M.A.P. and develop activities that
are truly in the best interest of the men!

For more men’s programming ideas, resources, and links please visit
http://www.
recreativeresources.com/programming-mens-activity-links.htm

References:



  • It’s Never 2 Late. (2007). Retrieved on May 11, 2007 from www.in2l.com
                                         
  • Masonic Pathways. (2004). Retrieved on May 11, 2007 from  www.masonicpathways.
    com/visit_us.html   Masonic Pathways Senior Living Services. (December, 2001). A walk
    down memory lane. Point to Point, pg. 9.

Copyright Kimberly Grandal, 2007.  All rights reserved.
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