Beautiful wooden bowls, whimsical wooden toys and intricately carved birds were just some of the projects on proud display at the grand opening of the Arnprior McNab/Braeside Men’s Shed yesterday.
The Shed, a program of the Arnprior McNab/Braeside Seniors Active Living Centre (SALC), has been in operation on Tuesdays and Thursdays since February 5th. It provides local senior men with a place to “do guy things,” explains Darrel O’Shaughnessy, chair of the Greater Arnprior Seniors Council and the driving force behind the Shed. In this case, “guy things” include socializing, sharing hobbies and interests, enjoying a cup of coffee and staying engaged with their community.
“Today was a community engagement success story, and totally demonstrated what an age-friendly community is all about,” said O’Shaughnessy. “The Shed is all about ensuring that our senior men remain productive, healthy, active and engaged. We delivered on that commitment today, and paved the way moving forward.”
More than 70 people came out to celebrate the opening. Also on hand were Eric Hanna, President and CEO of Arnprior Regional Health, the mayors of Arnprior and McNab/Braeside, a representative from the provincial Ministry of Seniors Affairs and Accessibility who helped fund the SALC, and owners of various local businesses who generously supported getting the Shed off the ground.
When addressing the crowd, Hanna spoke about what a Men’s Shed would have meant to his late father, who near the end of his life looked forward to building furniture together in Hanna’s basement on the weekends. Shed member Denis MacNeill told the crowd how much the Shed has already benefitted its members and the community.
Although there are 21 other Men’s Sheds in Canada, this Shed is unique in its direct connection to a local healthcare organization. Recognizing that social isolation in seniors can influence many aspects of their overall health (including increasing their chance of depression or premature death) Arnprior Regional Health has been adding new community programs, such as the SALC.
Promoting the health and wellbeing of local seniors makes it possible for them to not only stay in their own homes longer, but remain active and engaged in their community.
For more information about the Arnprior McNab/Braeside Men’s Shed, contact Darrel O’Shaughnessy at [email protected].