The needs of men living in residential aged care

Meeting the psychosocial needs of men through the implementation of male oriented lifestyle programs 

Toni Wallwork, Acting Group Diversional Therapist Manager, Living Care

Ginger Beer

According to figures released by the Australian Institute of Health in 2007 approximately 28% of the population in residential aged care services are men with this percentage only likely to grow. The experience men have of living in care is very different to those of women. Moving into a female dominated world their status as a numerical minority can marginalise them (Gleibs, Haslam, Jones, Haslam, McNeill & Connolly, 2011). This marginalisation is also exacerbated by the ageing process, which is related to loss of independence, physical strength, control loss of identity and social power and the fact that men find it difficult to develop effective social support.

At Clelland Lodge, a Living Care residential aged care service, they have addressed these unmet needs through a dedicated Men’s Program that includes regular men only outings to a local boutique brewery for beer tasting, their own on site Men’s Shed, men only sausage sizzles, monthly outings to a community Men’s shed and the most successful program to date in house beer and ginger beer brewing. The “Old Blokes of Clelland Lodge” meet every Thursday to brew and bottle beer, solve world problems, talk through issues that arise from living in care and to ‘poke fun’ at each other. These are then served at our weekly Happy Hour. The positive outcomes are too numerous to relay but include development of strong friendships and a social network, a sense of pride and improvement in self-worth and self-esteem, engagement in meaningful activity and maintaining identity. As a result of these outcomes it will now be run out in various forms across the entire organisation, contributing to Living Care’s vision of being a place where joy lives.

For more information about the Ginger Beer brewing program that won a 2014 Better Practice award please visit

More Information

Toni Wallwork