Gardening improves wellness, but the physical demands of working soil, pulling weeds, and hauling water could gradually become too much for aging individuals. Thoughtful garden design and proper strategies, however, will keep seniors active in their gardens for many years. As arthritis and mobility issues creep into an older adult's life, follow these tips to keep gardening easy.
1. Use Raised Beds
Raised beds offer many benefits, but their physical height makes them a perfect fit for seniors. Gardeners don't have to bend over as much to place seeds or plants in soil, remove weeds, or harvest.
2. Container Growing
A container garden on a patio or porch presents an alternative to raised beds. Even older adults with only an apartment balcony can still grow multiple containers of vegetables, fruits and herbs. Look for growing containers on casters so that they are easier to move.
3. Get the Right Tools
Smart tools make work easier regardless of age, but some equipment is ideally suited to older adults, like wheeled garden caddies and ergonomic pruners that reduce strain on hands and wrists. Light-weight coiled hoses are easy to put away and eliminate the tripping hazard posed by heavy hoses lying across walking surfaces.
4. Go Vertical
Trellises, tomato cages and bean poles save space and make it easy to tend plants and harvest food. Plants like cucumbers, pole beans, peas, and tomatoes excel in vertical formats.
5. Build Paths and Seating
A senior-friendly garden needs to be accessible. Plan for wide walkways appropriate for people with walkers, canes, or wheelchairs. Include garden chairs and benches so that a place to sit is never too far away.
These ideas and adjustments should make it easier for older adults to continue reaping the rewards of gardening. The act of touching soil is believed to boost the immune system by maintaining contact with beneficial microorganisms. Gardening also puts fresh produce on the table and keeps seniors in the sunshine, which aids with vitamin D production. Older folks should stay mindful, however, that the hot sun can become too much for them. Gardening is best done prior to 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m.
Maintaining elders' quality of life is our goal at Home Instead Senior Care. Contact us to learn how our services allow people to age in place at home.