Roy’s gift of friendship doubles as lifesaver for vulnerable men

 In Community

Roy McGregor is a friend to many residents at Elements Retirement Living, but it is the friendships he offers to strangers that is one of his greatest legacies.

 

Roy is the driving force behind our ‘Circle of Men’ volunteers, a group of about a dozen male residents who regularly visit a nearby aged care centre with the aim to offer companionship to the men living there.

 

The ‘Circle’ was born in May 2018 after Roy visited a long-time friend at the Boronia Heights centre and discovered a need to enrich the lives of its male residents.

 

With aged care centres largely populated by women, it’s not surprising many male residents find it difficult to form social connections and, in turn, find themselves at risk of emotional isolation. Closer to home, men make up as little as 30 per cent of our Elements Retirement Living residencies.

 

Enter ‘Circle of Men’.

 

These circles are an opportunity for the men of the facility, along with a small group of volunteers – Roy and friends – to interact with each other on a weekly basis. Roy often opens the session with a welcoming of all attendees and sparks conversation with a topic.

 

Roy’s decision now sees up to 15 Elements Retirement Living residents and six to eight volunteers paying regular visits to the centre to converse with its male residents in ‘the circle’.

 

The Circle of Men is just that – where men of all ages come together to share “their songs and stories, their joys and sorrows, their hopes and fears, their similarities and their differences”.

 

Topics can range from their favourite foods to their most memorable holiday destinations, with the closeness of ‘The Circle’ allowing greater intimacy and even touch for a group of men who increasingly find themselves living a life of solitude.

 

Elements is justifiably proud of these efforts, and the joy and support Roy and his fellow Elements Retirement Living residents have brought to so many lives.

 

It is not an understatement to say their gift of companionship is life-sustaining, with the simple combination of companionship and conversation greatly restoring and rejuvenating men who all too often find themselves alone, isolated and unloved at this most vulnerable stage of life.

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