Men’s sheds

I’d like to share something I’ve developed over the years for MEN in RACF’s who are the minority and are expected to ‘fit in’. More research can be viewed by googling my name. Enjoy and promote!!


Men with dementia in RACF’s suffer significant losses, the greatest of these is a sense of purpose, as a result, depression and “behaviours of concern” become reoccurring problems. Sadly, when men are admitted, the shed, its contents, and all associated actives are left behind.

Men are in the minority – living in a women’s world: everything is clean, ordered, and in its place. There is no shed in sight.. He has little private space and time with other men. Activity programs cater largely for women and are alien to most men eg folding socks & setting tables. Men need to engage in activities in physical surroundings that are more familiar to them like the good old Aussie shed.

The shed is an icon in Australian culture and an integral part of a man’s survival at home after retirement. Most houses have a shed or two attached to them. Sheds are a place where clutter, dust, odd smells, disorder and an accumulation of odds and ends are the order of the day.

Engaging in hobbies and past interests can: reduce stress; give feelings of competency; be socially engaging and improve the quality of a bloke’s life. It’s time for men’s needs to be addressed. Every ACF needs a shed (or dedicated room) to address the special needs of its male residents. The focus should be on the person and their past achievements rather than their dementia and their losses.

Tom Kitwood sums it up well:

“If person-hood is to be maintained, it is essential that each individual be appreciated in his or her uniqueness. Where there is empathy without personal knowledge, care will be aimless and unfocused. Where there is personal knowledge without empathy, care will be detached and cold. But when empathy and personal knowledge are brought together, miracles can happen”
(Kitwood 1997)

Author: Keith Bettany; Bach App Sc (Developmental Disabilities); RN;

Keith Bettany