A man needs friends

Men need friends, but men in our society, particularly middle-aged and older men, have a problem. Time and time again I’ve heard their wives complain, “My husband has no friends; he says he doesn’t need any because I’m his best friend.”

Men tend to have lots of acquaintances, usually from among the people they work with. But close friends? Very few or none.

Acquaintances come and go, so retired men often complain of loneliness and isolation.

When his wife tries to maintain a life, he may get possessive and resent her having friends beyond him, or he may just sink into depression. Then if he gets sick or disabled, and his wife is his only friend, the demands on her can become crippling.

A while back I was contracted to have weekly visits with two very ill men in care. Each lasted about six months before he died.

Both men had emotional and behavioural problems which I helped them with, but something else happened: they got to tell their stories that none of their other caregivers had time to hear. We became close.

Staff, and later, family members, told me that for each of these men my visit became the highlight of their week. The hardest part for me was my grief when they passed.

We all need connection throughout life, both men and women, but it can become tougher later in life. You can’t just hang up a sign saying “I need a friend.” You’d be a target for the con artist of the week. On the other hand, if you’re middle aged or older and want to give back, neither can you hang up a sign saying “friendship available.” Imagine the suspicion that would evoke!

Fortunately, there is such a way to put the two together. “Nurse Next Door” provides home support services to families and individuals.  As part of their service they offer simple companionship, either at home or in long-term care facilities. The companion could be any healthy man or woman with time and presence who wants to give back.

Nurse Next Door puts you through an interview process, checks your references, requires a criminal records check and a health check before employing you. They do pay you, albeit at a nominal rate. I suggest thinking of the work as volunteering and the qualification process as what you’re being paid for.

Both men and women companions are needed. I’ve slanted my comments towards men, because there are so many able men looking for something in retirement beyond golf. Check it out by contacting them at vancouverisland north@nursenextdoor.com. Who knows? You may kindle some bonds that are life giving to all parties, including you.

Dr. Neill is a Central-Island Registered Psychologist. You can reach him for an appointment at 250-752-8684 or through his website www.neillneill.com.

 

Just Posted

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
B.C. teen who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

Emergency vehicles are parked outside of the Wintergreen Apartments on Fourth Avenue. (SUSAN QUINN / Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni RCMP investigate stabbing on Fourth Avenue

Two men were found with ‘significant’ injuries near Wintergreen Apartments

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

Dry Creek Park will be closed all week as city parks crews remove hazardous trees and prepare the site for a new disc golf course. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni’s second disc golf course on the way at Dry Creek Park

Dry Creek Park will be closed for development for a week beginning June 21

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

Bernadette Jordan addresses the media following a swearing in ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on January 14, 2019. Jordan says the government will provide $2 million to allow First Nations to continue to strengthen the marine safety system across Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
First Nations receive federal funds to purchase marine rescue boats

Quatsino, Heiltsuk, and Kitasoo First Nation’s among eight across Canada to receive funding

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A blood drive in support of 1-year-old Rielynn Gormley of Agassiz is scheduled for Monday, June 28 at Tzeachten First Nation Community Hall in Chilliwack. Rielynn lives with type 3 von Willebrand disease, which makes it difficult for her to stop bleeding. (Screenshot/Canadian Blood Services)
Upcoming blood drive in honour of Fraser Valley toddler with rare blood condition

The Gormley family has organized a blood drive in Chilliwack on June 28

Most Read