As we move into our twilight years, it is natural to want to be able to continue to take part in the activities that we enjoy; and for many seniors, gardening is a lifelong love.
As much as many people love gardening, being able to continue gardening can be a problem.There are two main difficulties that seniors face when gardening; staying safe while gardening alone, and gardening with a reduced budget.
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Staying Safe While Gardening Alone
With age comes a reduced physical capacity, and when you combine this with the fact that many older adults live alone and may also be suffering from a reduced mental capacity, it means that accidents in the garden can be hazardous — and even deadly — when help is not immediately at hand.
Here some tips to help seniors garden safely and enjoying the gift of their green thumbs well into their golden years::
- Understand your limits: Admit to yourself that you don’t have the body of a 25-year-old anymore. You can’t lift bags of fertilizer or potting mix as easily as you once did and some gardening tools may be simply off limits due to the physical strength required to use them.
- Always carry a cell phone or emergency alert system: Probably the most dangerous situation to be in when gardening is being alone. We all like to imagine that we can handle any situation the world throws at us, but having an accident in the garden when you’re alone could be deadly. Whether you fall or have a mishap with equipment, it’s imperative to receive help right away. Always ensure that you have a cell phone or emergency alert system with you so you can call for help should the worst happen.
- Avoid ladders: Ladders are dangerous at the best of times, and as we age, they only become even more of a hazard. As many people age, lose our sense of balance. And if we’re struck with a sudden dizzy spell while high atop a ladder, then a serious fall is likely. When those taller bushes or trees need pruning, call in a professional and take the risk away entirely. It simply isn’t worth the risk.
- Tell someone your plans: It sounds silly, but simply telling a friend or family member that you are planning to work in the garden for a few hours could save your life. Telling a loved one will mean that they can check in on you later in the day and ensure that everything went as planned. You never know, you may be able to rope them into helping you!
- Protect yourself: Taking appropriate precautions to protect yourself from hazards is extremely important. Always use protective equipment such as safety glasses and safe footwear should the situation call for it. It is also important to remember to wear sunscreen and a hat on those warmer days, as heat stroke or sunburn can be just as deadly as a fall from a ladder.
- Avoid heavy power tools: many power tools require quite a lot of strength to operate, and if you don’t have the strength to use a tool with relative ease, then you probably shouldn’t use it at all. Instead of gas powered tools, try using battery powered devices which are usually much lighter. Cordless lawn mowers, chainsaws, edgers and leaf blowers are all viable alternatives.
Gardening On a Budget
The other main difficulty than many seniors face when it comes to gardening, is the ability to do so within a tighter budget than in the past. The good news is that it is still possible to continue to enjoy gardening without spending all of your savings doing so.
Here are some quick tips to help you get the most out of your garden without emptying your bank account to do so:
- Buy second-hand tools: New garden tools can be purchased quite cheaply these days. Unfortunately, they seldom seem to last the test of time and end up costing you more in the long run to replace them. I have found that purchasing good quality second-hand garden tools that last for years can be found for a very reasonable price from online auctions, second-hand stores or yard sales.
- Take freebies offered to you: For some of us, it is only natural to turn down those free tools and plants that are provided to us by neighbors, friends, and relatives. Afterall, we don’t want to be a freeloader right? Wrong! There is nothing wrong with accepting free items from other people; they would not be offering them if they did not want to part with them.
Say thank you and make the most out of having generous loved ones. If you feel the need, you can pay them back by baking them something nice.
- Plant from seed if possible: Planting from seedlings or semi-mature plants is much more expensive than growing a plant from seed. Yes, it is a harder to do, but I find that the satisfaction I get from growing a plant from a tiny seed is worth it!
- Use free cuttings when possible: If you have friends or family that are into gardening as well, then take cuttings of existing plants when they are offered to you. Maybe you can organize to swap cuttings and save each other money in the process.
Stay Safe and Save Money
So don’t give into the idea that you can’t continue gardening as you get older. Gardening for seniors has many advantages, it keeps us physically fit and keeps our minds active. It is just a case of adjusting following a few simple tips to stay safe, and within a budget.
Author Bio: Aaron Green is a father of two from Melbourne, Australia. He loves spending his time in the garden or on his DIY projects at home. Aaron is the founder of https://www.essentialhomeandgarden.com and more of his writings can be found there.