The last three years of my sisters life were spent in a nursing home. Her husband was very attentive and, unless he was sick, he was by her side every day. It was there that he met three other men who were experiencing the same thing.
When I visited Peg my brother-in-law introduced me to his friends and told me that they were the ROMEOs. I thought it was a cute name for a bunch of elderly men but I learned that it was much more than that. This was his support group …Retired Old Men Eating Out ! They had been meeting once a week for a long time and had developed a trusting and convivial rapport with each other. They could compare notes, share stories for managing all sorts of difficulties and, best of all, they never had to feel alone.
Nowadays you can find a support group for just about everything but, as in the case of my brother-in-law, many men are reluctant to join them. I think this is especially true of senior men. They don’t feel comfortable talking in groups and often have the stoical attitude of, “I’m doing fine. I don’t need support”.
Then, of course, you have the men who claim they have no time for a support group since they are so busy caring for their loved ones. This was the original attitude of the men who formed the ROMEOs. Their days were full of care giving but they figured that a good meal out once a week might be OK. Little did they think of this as a “support group” but that’s exactly what it was.
I knew that Peg was being cared for in a loving way by her husband of almost 60 years but it was a relief to know that he was being cared for too …thanks to a little group knows as the ROMEOs.