Let it not be said Nursing Homes are for women only. Isabella has a wonderfully diverse population. Of the 700 residents who live at Isabella 219 are men. So what is happening to make Isabella a comfortable place for men? Indeed the women of Isabella enjoy quilting, the European Club, and bingo. Pastimes many enjoyed in their more independent days.
But what brings the men of Isabella together for conversation and fun? It is the Men’s Group, the idea of Felicita Cruz, (Recreation). She called on other staff members to contribute their talents to the newly formed gathering of men. It didn’t take long before volunteers were escorting men from the various Isabella neighborhoods on Wednesday afternoons to one of the community dining rooms. About 15 come together at any one time.
The men began by introducing themselves to one another. Future Echoes dancer, Ray Centeno (Finance) offered to lead the men in sharing memories of life in New York, jobs and their experiences in wars, civil rights and music of a bygone day. Jokes and trivia spark conversation. Sometimes Ray begins with a guided meditation enhanced by a background of Native American music.
There is definitely excitement in the air as Ray sets up percussion instruments of bongos, castanets, and drums. The residents are delighted to play. Rebecca Hernandez (Finance) joins Ray and the two twirl and step to the magical beat of trance dance, jazz and Latin rhythms.
At other gatherings Michael Robinson, a physical exercise trainer (Environmental Services) demonstrates routines. The men flex their muscles as they follow along. Recruitment for a sports enthusiast has begun so the group can welcome in the baseball season with the excitement it brings.
While this is all going on the men are enjoying refreshments of beer and chips. Not so bad for a Nursing Home. If a woman attempts to join the fun she is greeted by a resounding, “Men Only”. The Men’s Group is a good time for male companionship and entertainment.
The idea of having a Men’s Group has caught on and other Isabella communities have begun similar gatherings of men. The Isabella Men’s Group is an example of how creative thinking fosters person-centered care in innovative and fun ways.