Lawrence McKnight was nominated for a Sage Award for his work championing the downtown Men’s Shed - a welcoming and supportive place that provides the opportunity for men to not only build projects, but build community. After caregiving for his wife of 63 years who passed away with Alzheimer's disease, Lawrence moved into a seniors’ residence next to Sage. “As he made his way in new surroundings, he saw and experienced how aging men can be negatively affected by life changes,” said Carol Benoit, who nominated Lawrence for the Award.
Men aged 65 and older have the highest suicide rate of any other group, and are vulnerable to depression and social isolation after retirement. “The downtown Men's Shed is part of a much larger social movement that successfully reduces the negative impacts older men in our community may experience through social isolation, loss of relationships, ending of a career that may have been a man's primary focus, and declining health,” explained Benoit. “Hearing about Men’s Sheds, Lawrence immediately knew this was a movement he could support and energetically talked about the possibilities.”
Five Men's Sheds are currently operating in Edmonton to support healthy connections for men. “He began working with Sage staff and visited other successful Edmonton Men’s Sheds, then started to host weekly meetings. Now a small core of dedicated gentlemen are part of the group that meets and welcomes new members on Friday afternoons at Sage,” said Benoit. An organization was created to assist with the initiative; the Men’s Shed Association of Edmonton, a registered non-profit that will act as the formal organization of all Edmonton Sheds to assist with promotion, recruitment, training, and funding. To view a segment by CTV News about Edmonton's Men's Sheds, click here.
Lawrence was instrumental in encouraging a community of men to create a safe space for them to connect and share their gifts, whatever that looks like to them. “As the downtown Men’s Shed grows, the members share a renewed purpose in their lives, while positively supporting each other," explained Benoit. "Lawrence has remained unfailingly positive through the startup and growth of the Men’s Shed, encouraged by the response and contributions of the men who take a chance in attending and decide to stay.”
Join us during seniors’ week on June 6, 2019, at the Sutton Place Hotel (10235 101 St.) in Edmonton at 4:00 p.m., and be part of celebrating seniors like Lawrence.
Ticket sales close May 29, 2019. To buy tickets, click here.