Gardening for seniors can be relaxing, comforting and soulful. However, as we age we discover that things we may have enjoyed in our younger days are a bit more difficult.
Tips for Gardening for Seniors
Here are a few tips that can make gardening easier and safer for seniors.
- Raised Gardens – Creating a raised garden area helps relieve the stress of bending and kneeling while gardening; making it much more comfortable and safer.
- Vertical Gardening – A big trend in gardening today, vertical gardens can be purchased at local stores and garden centers inexpensively. These are excellent because they require no stooping.
- Mini Gardens – If a senior becomes house ridden or bed ridden, you can bring the garden inside with a windowsill planter. This allows them to enjoy the benefits of a garden while also being able to use a walker with a seat or simple seat next to the windowsill to allow them to get their hands in there and dirty.
- Dementia Gardens – It’s important to ensure the plants used are safe. This pamphlet on Dementia Gardens is an excellent resource.
- Blossoms for all Seasons – It’s a wonderful idea to plant “safe” plants that will hold the interest throughout the seasons. Plants that flower at different times throughout the seasons help keep interest.
- Planting Vegetables – Everyone enjoys eating items they’ve grown. Those in the early stages of dementia may suddenly decide they don’t like vegetables or fruits and be combative about eating them; however, when they grow and pick the food themselves.
- Plant in Pots – Placing planters around on a patio or sitting up at an easily reachable level on a banister.
The Benefits of Seniors Gardening
There are a number of benefits to gardening for seniors.
- Exercise – Gardening is a great form of aerobic exercise that helps seniors stay flexible and moving around.
- Sunshine – It’s important to use SPF and cover yourself with light clothes to protect from the suns rays; however the suns rays are beneficial too.
- Relaxation – While the act of gardening itself can be soul searching and relaxing; enjoying simply sitting in the gardening area can also be just as wonderful. Don’t forget to put in a comfortable spot to sit and enjoy the benefits of your work.
- Social Interaction – The wonderful part of gardening is that anyone, any age can actually participate. Invite grandchildren, children, family and friends to take turns in helping your senior loved one enjoy their gardening with them.
It’s important to find ways for seniors to continue to enjoy activities they have always enjoyed by making small changes to accommodate their abilities.
Here are some excellent tips for senior gardening. Gardening for seniors is one way that caregivers can connect with seniors they work with and instill a feeling of accomplishment as they age with quality of life.
Kansas State University study, 2010
Dee McGuire, a horticultural therapist at Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center and Hospital in Baltimore
Photo by Sarah and Jason