Gardening has many therapeutic and health benefits for seniors, particularly when it comes to growing your own fresh fruits and vegetables. Garden tools, equipment, and beds – these all can be modified to create the garden which is productive, accessible, and interesting.
Some physical disabilities or medical conditions can prevent or restrict older adults from taking part in gardening. However, if you make few changes and do some proper planning, you can make our garden safer and more accessible.
Gardening Benefits for Seniors
Benefits of gardening for seniors include:
- It’s an enjoyable exercise.
- It helps to improve physical activity levels, including flexibility and mobility.
- It promotes relaxation and reduces stress.
- It encourages use of motor skills.
- It improves strength and endurance.
- It prevents disease like osteoporosis.
- It increases your interest in the outdoors and nature — and is a great excuse to get some fresh air!
- It provides stimulation.
- Gardening improves your well-being.
Health Conditions to Take Into Consideration
Before seniors start gardening, they should take some mental, age-related, and physical health conditions into consideration:
- Skin – Older people with fragile and thin skin are easily susceptible to sunburn, bruises, and bumps. Wear sunscreen, proper clothing, or consider gardening gloves and knee pads to help protect from injury or sunburn.
- Body Temperature – Older people are susceptible to the temperature changes, they might suffer from the heat exhaustion. Make sure to take regular breaks indoors and to have plenty of fresh water on hand to stay hydrated.
- Vision – Poor eyesight, change in the lens structure and loss of the peripheral vision may restrict activities. Consider wearing a hat, visor, and UV-ray blocking sunglasses as a preventive measure.
- Mental Abilities – Memory or thinking abilities and mental health can get affected by dementia or other similar conditions. Seniors who may have forgetfulness or who are in the early stages of dementia should be attended when gardening to be sure they don’t accidentally harm themselves or even wander off.
Adjustments to Equipment and the Garden for Seniors
Garden size can be another area to consider. Seniors tend to downsize and shift into smaller apartments, condos or townhouses where they feel that they don’t have enough space for gardening. As a result, they give up a favorite hobby.
Gardening can be made easy for seniors with the proper equipment and just a few modifications. Garden tools; equipment and spaces can be adapted or modified to reduce physical stress related to gardening for the seniors. Suggestions include:
- Raise your garden beds to avoid stooping and bending.
- To make your garden bed accessible for harvesting and planting – use vertical planting. You can use trellises and wall spaces.
- To make the suitable, elevated, and movable garden beds, use retractable wheelbarrows, containers, and hanging baskets.
- Find adaptive equipment and tools – they are easily available in the hardware shops.
- Use tools that are light in weight and easier to maintain.
- To have a better grip on the existing tools – you can modify them with the help of plastic tubing, foam or tape.
- You can provide some shade areas to make it more comfortable to garden in the summer.
- For more comfortable gardening and taking rest breaks outdoors, you can have stable tables and chairs as well as a garden umbrella set up in the yard.
- For an watering, you can install the drip feeding system or make certain that you have a tap nearby.
Gardening Tools for Seniors
There are quite a number of gardening tools for seniors and the disabled, made to make gardening less tiring for people with low motility. They are:
- Easy Grip Garden Cultivator – This tool is perfect for people with arthritis or diminished hand strength.
- Easy Grip Garden Trowel – This tool is suitable for those who have less hand strength or weaker grip.
- Easy Grip Long Handled Hoe – This tool is specially designed for people who may need to work from a seated position.
- Chainsaws – This tool is the best choice for reliability and power. A chainsaw can easily cut firewood or take down a whole tree.
You might be wondering if it is safe for seniors to use some of these powerful electric tools in the garden? Many seniors CAN safely use power tools in the garden, it just depends on each particular situation. In addition to supervision, it’s important that they choose a brand that is most convenient for seniors.
Both Echo or Stihl brand chainsaws offer multiple features that make them suitable for seniors or people with compromised mobility. Another brand to consider is Jonsered chainsaws, which have amazing balance and are easily to control.
Gardening Activities that Seniors Can Do
- Harvesting flowers and food
- Food preparation
Sensory enjoyment includes looking, touching, smelling, remembering, and listening. Working around plants and in the garden can trigger these senses in a positive way.
Gardening can be a wonderful activity for many seniors. To make sure it stays enjoyable, adjust your equipment, manage space, use proper garden tools, and help your senior loved ones enjoy gardening. Happy gardening!
Do you have any tips that can help make gardening easier and more enjoyable for seniors? We’d love it if you shared them in the comments below.
Author Bio: Emily Taylor has a passion for gardening with the urge to know and control every little thing that happens inside her house. When she isn’t glued to her backyard or caring for the house, she spends time writing her blog, Lovebackyard.com, hoping to share her tips and stories with people who want to transform their house into a real paradise. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @Emily_Taylor9.