Elderly Gardening: Grow Gracefully Into Your Golden Years

Ed Wike
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Elderly Gardening Benefits

For seniors, gardening is a great way to keep active — mentally and physically — and to reap the benefits of that activity. Gardening involves physical freedom, depending on the method you employ, so it promotes physical freedom. It involves the freedom to physical and mental activity, which each independent of the other, is great for both. And, it is a creative exercise that allows seniors to put their personal touch on their garden. This will not only help with cognitive function and memory, but it will promote a sense of accomplishment and improve self-esteem.

Gardening also provides a chance for social connections and interaction while young seniors are still able to enjoy it. As they grow older, interaction in the garden helps to open lines of communication between generations. In the garden it is possible, and easy, for a senior to communicate and interact with people of all ages and walks of life.

Gardening also helps with depression and loneliness, as it can provide seniors with all of the companionship they need during the day. When they go out into the garden at the end of the day, that is one topic of conversation with a senior … if it is not the only topic of conversation. It is an easy and very effective way to help a senior to feel involved and important in their own life and to feel that they are an important part of the family.

Benefits For The Body

Gardening is great for your children, even little ones, because of the way that it boosts confidence and gives them an opportunity to learn. It's never too early for them to get their hands dirty and garden.

It's also great for you because researching garden products and things that can make gardening easier eases the pressure of the work. It isn't something that you have to do alone, so turn it into a family event and get the kids involved.

Finally, gardening is great for your body. It's a low-impact exercise and healthy for your whole body. You'll be stretching and bending and getting a great cardiovascular workout while you create something beautiful and useful.

For the mind, gardening is a great way to relax and forget the world for a little while. It's a creative and positive way to unwind and enjoy the beauty that you bring into your own home. Not only will you have a beautiful garden but you will have enjoyed the work immensely.

Benefits For The Mind

Elderly gardeners tend to be happier than others. Gardening has been proven to be a great way to battle depression and other mental health issues.

It is also a low-impact exercise making it easier on the elderly who are in less than perfect physical condition.

The giving new life to someone else lends a sense of purpose and accomplishment to later years.

The health benefits of gardening are medically attributed to the vibrational energies found in plants.

The concentrated energy of gardens brings a profound material and spiritual well-being.

The number of people who are retired and in need of mental stimulation is getting larger.

The elderly in nursing homes and assisted living facilities have the most trouble staying busy.

It helps the elderly to deal with the isolation they often feel. They can share stories and information with fellow gardeners.

Spending time with the younger generation only helps make the elderly feel younger.

Elderly Gardening Tips

Staying Active

If you've ever thought your parents were just too old and too frail to move around, think again. Gardening could be just what they need to stay active. The best part is it's easy for them to start!

Just growing herbs is a great way for seniors to get started in gardening. Here's what to do:

Find a place for your herb garden. It needs to be on a mostly sunny spot, but close to the house where your parents can water it.

Pull some weeds and remove the dead leaves from the herbs.

Water them regularly, and keep them a few inches away from the edge of the garden bed in order to let in air flow between the plants.

When they begin to produce seeds, cut off the flowers before they go to seed, but allow the plants to continue to grow.

If possible, add organic compost to the soil in the spring to improve soil quality and texture.

Be patient! Your parents may start slow, but as they begin to get used to the routine, they will have a new hobby and may enjoy meal planning around the herbs.

Gardening Tools For The Elderly

Growing your own food is a rewarding way of becoming self-reliant. It frees you from food miles and associated costs, an important consideration at any time, but especially in the present economic climate. If you are elderly or have a disability, gardening is a great way to get back into the outside world, giving you a real sense of achievement and freedom. If you struggle with mobility, gardening might help you keep fit as well!

Gardening is ideal for those who wish to increase their self-sufficiency. You can grow a useful crop on a small plot of land, and you only need a few tools to get started. If you have a disability, you will only need a few simple tools in order to ensure you are able to get as much from your garden as possible. You should also consider the cost of your garden, as disabled or elderly people may have a lower disposable income than the rest of the population, making cheaper alternatives worth considering.

Many disabled people or ill elderly people are not able to use their hands to perform tasks such as pulling weeds, digging, or other such activities. This is where a Wheel Weeder or Super Handy Hoe can be invaluable. You can buy a tool such as a steady pull saw with which you can saw through tree branches as hard as oak, without bending or straining your back.

Going Vertical

Gardening at Any Age

As we’ve discussed, one challenge with gardening as you get older is not being able to bend down. We’ve already discussed how you can make gardening easier by investing in a few items to help. But, why not embrace your age and grow vertically?

Larger plants can be grown in containers and trellises. Also, you can take advantage of natural structures by growing plants on fences and walls.

Grow herbs in pots on your deck. By choosing herbs that are not year-round “basil will thrive in warmer temperatures, for example ”you can harvest them regularly from your deck.

Get creative about growing other plants. Research vertical gardens and vertical gardening techniques.

Sometimes, the larger plants do, in fact, have to be dug in. That doesn’t mean that the digging can’t be done by someone else. If you want to get your hands dirty, you can hire someone to do the dirty work for you.

Some people choose to hire physically disabled workers or high school students for this kind of personal assistant service. Be sure that you check where the workers come from, their skill level, and insurance and liability protection before you give anyone the keys to your home or business. Choose workers that are insured through a construction company.

Taller Gardens For Comfort

If you’ve tried gardening before and found it very physically challenging, you might want to consider gardening in a new way. In a traditional garden, you kneel and bend all the time. This can be very difficult on joints that are susceptible to injury.

You should move to taller gardens if you’re going to be gardening for the long-term. Gardening in raised beds that are between 2‖4 feet (60‖120 cm) means that many gardening tasks can be done in a standing position. You can walk around and weed, plant, and water much more easily.

A garden bench can also be a good investment for your shady garden with lots of overhead shade. It will give you a nice place to sit down and rest for a while, and it might also be a place to gather with guests and sit and enjoy your outdoor space.

If you want to do some gardening on your own turf but don’t have a green thumb, consider hiring a gardening service. These services will come in and care for your plants, water them, and deal with any trouble spots. It’s a great way to guarantee that your garden looks great year round, without having to spend lots of time in it.

Padding For Your Knees

One area where we naturally grow old is in our knees. Age and wear and tear turn our once flexible joints into stiff and frail pieces of cartilage covered by fraying ligaments. Add in a few nicks and cuts, and we're left with a landscape of cracked and dry skin.

Sitting around won't help these ages-old knees of yours. So, when your knees are strongest, you want to have two extra layers of cushion for them to sit on. The first layer is your regular, everyday kneepad. The second layer is a protruding, self-adhesive knee pad that you glue on and pull your pants over, providing an additional layer of protection. You knew the guy the next desk over at work who always wore a pad to work? This is why.

Roll Around Your Garden

As we grow older, a lot of our physical abilities slow down. Aging can also impact the quality of our senses, like decreased sight and hearing – making gardening more difficult.

If you’re over 60, you know what we are talking about. Those aches and pains, reduced flexibility, and cataracts can make it painful – or near impossible – to garden the way you used to.

But for many retirees, gardening is the highlight of their day to day activities. It may be the best part of their day, and it’s a very healthy and physical activity. To enjoy gardening, you need to find a more comfortable approach to working in the garden. The good news is that you can – improving your posture, purchasing tools and equipment, and making modifications to your garden will make it easier for you to work in your garden.

Aesthetics are an important part of gardening, so you also may need to consider modifying the appearance of your garden to accommodate your needs. Humor yourself, and give yourself a head start in your planning. This will empower you to adapt to what you need to do in order to grow, while enjoying your gardening pursuits.

Remember, Age Is Just A Number

Many people think of gardening as something for older people. As you grow older, you may feel less enthusiastic about physical activity. You may even think it’s not necessary. However, gardening can be a great form of physical activity for the older generation and can open up a new world of getting fresh air.

If you’re interested in gardening for health reasons, you can reap the following benefits:

  • lower blood pressure
  • reduce risk of heart disease
  • lower the risk of cancer
  • lower the risk of type II diabetes
  • reduce the risk of osteoporosis
  • prevent weight gain
  • reduce the risk of dementia
  • lower the risk of cataracts

Gardening is a great way to find relaxation and outside enjoyment. You can get anything you want out of older gardening: from a single activity for a short period of time to a long-term project.

If you haven’t gardened in a long time, the process of gardening can be a little intimidating. Here are some tips about physical gardening, so you can get started.