Assisted Living Should Reach Out to Men, Says Washington Post

By Michelle Seitzer / Posted on 23 August 2011

Currently, only 26% of assisted living residents are male, as per the National Center for Assisted Living. Although the ratio is not likely to change anytime soon – researchers say women will continue to outlive men – the total number of older men will increase as the population ages.

Earlier this month, Pam Gerhardt’s articleAssisted living facilities may be wise to appeal more to men” appeared in the Washington Post, detailing her recent visits to area communities in search of a fitting place for her father. In her words, “I noted the doilies and chintz…I was overwhelmed by potpourri and teddy bears with bows…Where is poker night? Where’s the bar?”

Boomers will be asking those questions more frequently in the coming years, as they visit assisted living facilities on behalf of their loved ones, and as they consider their own future needs and preferences.

The good news is that when men do transition to assisted living, they tend to do quite well, despite the presence of doilies, teddy bears and bows. Those who were isolated and lonely prior to move-in benefit greatly from the services provided and the community atmosphere fostered therein.

But experts recommend that assisted living communities seek ways to be more gender-friendly and make the home more appealing to men, particularly in terms of activities offered and the general aesthetics of the building.

There are 2 Comments about this post

  1. Connie says,

    I have been the activity director for a facility since 2009.
    I am finding it very impossible to get my men involved.
    I have purchased a small pool table, games, etc. I have planned indoor tailgate parties, thinking they would enjoy this.
    Most of my men choose to not do anything. Some just desire to sleep all day. Do you have any pointers.



    on 03 February 2012 / 10:56 AM

  2. Hi Connie,
    Thanks for writing! Yes, in my days as an AD, it was not easy getting the guys involved. I always made sure not to take their refusals to participate personally and respected their right to say no. Have you asked some of the men that are more active/engaged what they would enjoy? What about something related to work, like a discussion about the jobs they used to do and maybe bring in guest speakers to talk about what’s new in those particular industries? Sort of like a career fair, but reversed (if that makes sense)? Great question though…I think I might do a new post on the subject. Keep your eye out for it!


    on 03 February 2012 / 1:44 PM


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