The Men’s Shed Movement: Promoting Healthy Non-violent Relationships with Senior Men in Edmonton (Session D)

The Men’s Shed Movement: Promoting Healthy Non-violent Relationships with Senior Men in Edmonton (Session D)

The Men’s Shed movement is relatively new to Canada. Edmonton has witnessed the start-up of a half dozen Sheds. They show promise as an approach to help reduce abuse among seniors. This presentation will explore the Men’s Sheds movement, the ways in which Sheds may reduce senior abuse, and how to support the local movement.

A Men’s Shed is a community-based, non-profit, non-commercial organization that is accessible to all men and whose primary activity is the provision of a safe and friendly environment where men are able to work on meaningful projects at their own pace in their own time in the company of other men. A major objective is to advance the well- being and health of their male members (AMSA 2016).

A key benefit of Men’s Sheds is that they reduce social isolation. This condition afflicts our seniors and is particularly prevalent and harmful toward senior men. For seniors, staying active in the community has been shown to reduce isolation. And a reduction in social isolation has been shown to reduce vulnerability to abuse.

We see Men’s Sheds reducing senior abuse in multiple ways. First, they can decrease an individual’s vulnerability to abuse by reducing social isolation. Second, they can improve the social well-being of participants who are then better able to initiate and sustain healthy, nonviolent relationships with others, such as a spouse. And, finally, they provide opportunities for seniors to come together to promote senior safety among their peers.

In Edmonton, we already see evidence of these benefits in our new Shed Movement. We invite others to become part of developing this innovative approach to preventing senior abuse.