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Vancouver Men’s Sheds Promoting Health and Well Being

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The Vancouver Men’s Shed will hold its first general meeting on Saturday, November 9, 2019, at 12:00 noon at the CDM Caregiving Services- McKibbin Center on Andresen. Men’s Sheds originated in Australia to improve the health of older men who may be at risk of developing preventable health problems, which arise from social isolation and loneliness. “Shed” is a British term, Americans would probably call it a workshop or group, for a place where men can spend time working on small projects and socializing.

Men’s Sheds are places where men can pursue meaningful, creative interests and socialize with other men. Professor Barry Golding coined the phrase “Men don’t talk face to face. They talk shoulder to shoulder.” to describe how sheds help promote informal discussions of health issues and other concerns as men work together on projects or just stop in for coffee and conversation.

Currently, there are over 3,000 sheds across the globe including more than 1, 000 in Australia where they are funded by the Federal Department of Health and support over 100,000 men. Rotary International has been instrumental in the development of Australian Men’s Sheds. There are 17 sheds in the U.S in five states.

Every Men’s Shed has its own unique focus. Most sheds focus on community projects and bring in occasional speakers on issues related to men’s health. Other sheds are more recreational or educational, focusing on trips to local attractions and sponsoring classes of high interest to older men. All the Sheds focus on creating a space where men feel comfortable and create new connections and friendships.

In retirement, many men find themselves cut off from the social circle they developed at work and often find that other friends have moved away or died. According to Charlotte S. Yeh, Chief Medical Officer for AARP, “Social isolation is a significant issue for retired men which affects both physical and mental health.” Men’s sheds can help men reconnect and provide a renewed sense of community and purpose, a kind of work substitute. Research surveys show that “shedders” live happier, healthier lives and feel a strong sense of belonging.

The Vancouver Men’s Shed is a program of CDM Caregiving Services, a locally grown non-profit agency dedicated to serving elders and people of all ages with disabilities. This new endeavor also has the support of the Area Agency on Aging & Disabilities of Southwest Washington.

Wives and partners often provide the strongest support for sheds. Some of the recently started Sheds in the U.S. got their start because wives encouraged their husbands to get active in the clubs.

Anyone who would like to learn more about Sheds is encouraged to attend the November 9th meeting. For more information contact Arnie Dyer- [email protected] – 360-218-6966, or Eric Erickson – [email protected] – 360-896-9695.

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