Whether or not April’s showers resulted in plenty of spring flowers for you, May is a perfect time for Irvine-area residents to get out and play in the garden, especially those receiving in-home care.
Though just about everyone can benefit from time spent outdoors growing good things and digging in the dirt, the team at Accredited Home Care believes it can be a useful and enjoyable activity, especially those who may not be in the best physical or mental condition.
Gardening requires some degree of physical activity but you can go at your own pace and perform tasks that fit well with your stamina, interests, and abilities. For instance, someone with mobility problems may not be able to go back and forth across the yard that way but could sit at table or workbench with their seeds, soil or pots.
Likewise, someone receiving in-home care may not have the strength to carry heavy gardening items, such as rocks, plants or other supplies. But friends and family members can certainly offer a hand, and caregivers might too if you ask real nice – but these sorts of tasks do go beyond most job descriptions.
Why Gardening Is So Great
The AARP recommends gardening for all sorts of reasons, starting with the fact that you’re moving to a different setting and not being stuck in your living room or bedroom.
Other valuable and useful reasons include:
- Low-impact exercise.
- Enjoying nature, including weather and wildlife. The real thing is always better than watching it on TV or phone.
- No schedule. You can always find activities to do, like weeding or dead-heading. At the same time, you really don’t have to do anything but sit and enjoy your surroundings.
- Less lonely. Research shows that the mental aspects of gardening can help reduce the pain of not having others in your life, such as if family members have moved away or loved ones have passed away.
- Clearer mind. Other research has shown that the thought involved in the process of gardening, such as planning, planting, and harvesting, can reduce the risk of dementia.
- Great gifts. If you plant vegetables or flowers, these can brighten up your life and surroundings, as well as be nice presents you can share with others in your life.
- Free, healthy food. If you’re conscious about what you’re eating and your budget, then gardening can supply both.
Meditate More in May
Beyond the more practical benefits of gardening, which are included in the previous list, there are also more transcendental benefits: basically, some say gardening is good for the soul.
Without getting too spiritual or esoteric, gardening can allow people to become creators as they nurture their plants from tiny seeds to full maturity, and start the cycle again the next season. Planting something permanent, such as a tree or trees, could be a nice legacy long after someone leaves this world. Even people who don’t have a lot of time remaining may still be interested in leaving something behind that will help remind loved ones of their memory.
This month is a great time to reflect on the spiritual side of gardening. May 3 was National Garden Meditation Day, an annual celebration when gardeners of all skills and abilities were encouraged to enjoy gardening in new ways, including taking time to meditate. But even if you missed the day, you can certainly mediate any time.
If you’re unfamiliar with mediation, it doesn’t have to be anything formal with lotus-style sitting, mantras that are chanted or exotic music, but merely can consist of taking a few minutes during the day to take a break to appreciate yourself, your garden and your world.
This can help bring tranquility back to your situation, no matter how crazy things are at the time.
Unfamiliar with the holiday? It was created by blogger, author and gardener C.L. Fornari, creator of the GardenLady.com site. Daysoftheyear.com claims that Fornari kicked off the effort by encouraging people around the country to start boosting their mental, spiritual and physical health. She also promoted the theme of good gardening in books, her blog, speaking opportunities, and a podcast.
How Home Healthcare Can Help
Because many health professionals know how important or useful gardening can be, it’s likely that it can be suggested and recommended for clients in any health condition.
The team at Accredited Home Care offers clients access to a variety of specialists. Generally, these are more like massage therapists or occupational therapists, rather than gardeners. But they recognize the value of gardening for all sorts of reasons.
Provided someone doesn’t exert themselves, and dresses for the elements (sweaters/coats for chilly days or sunscreen and hats for warmer days), most health care providers and specialists will have no problem with someone wanting to stay outside as much as possible.
Health care providers may even come up with some related exercises that can further help flexibility and strength while someone is outside enjoying themselves.
For more suggestions about ways to enjoy the outdoors, visit Accredited Home Care.