It is so important for seniors to remain active while aging at home. Care must be taken to avoid inactivity, boredom, and isolation. Having the ability to go outside and enjoy the fresh air is a wonderful feeling and a good way to get a daily dose of the great outdoors. Gardening is one activity that has some unexpected health benefits—for example, it is known to be a wonderful stress reliever. While there are a great number of benefits to gardening, it also has the potential to put a lot of stress on the body. These are some tips to make sure that gardening remains safe and rewarding for an ageing senior.
It is helpful to choose plants that are easy to maintain and will withstand a variety of conditions. This makes gardening less hectic overall. Some plants that requires very little maintenance include Wave Petunias, which does not require a lot of pruning; French lavender, which is fragrant, beautiful, and does not require a lot of water; or indoor plants such as the ZZ plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) which can help cleanse the air around the home.
Perennial vs Annual
Perennials have the advantage of not needing to be replanted each year. When they are cared for properly throughout the season, they will grow back the next year.
Timing is very important when thinking about gardening. During warmer seasons, it would be ideal to work in the garden early in the morning or later in the evening, because these times are cooler and one can avoid over heating their body on days with elevated temperatures. Work in as much shade as possible during a sunny day, and take as many breaks as you need to prevent overheating. Don’t forget to keep hydrated, and asking for assistance from a friend, family member, or home care agency in Toronto can ensure that a senior continues to enjoy this rewarding recreational activity without fear of tiring out, losing balance, or not being able to physically handle the tools needed to produce a beautiful garden.
Many people think that gardening involves a plot of land in the yard, but container gardening can be a great option for many seniors, especially those living in apartment buildings with little access to a backyard. Container gardening just means that the plants are placed in a pot or container of choice. This can be beneficial for some elderly individuals because the garden can be placed almost anywhere, and can be easily accessible. Using lightweight containers for the plants will ensure easier handling.
To prevent strain on legs, use a chair or stool to avoid squatting.
Consider using tape seed. This is made from biodegradable paper and comprises of seeds that have been perfectly spaced out, saving lots of time.
Mark gardening tools with colored taped to easily identify them from each other.
Gardening tools should have long handles (where appropriate) that are lightweight with some sort of grip. This can help prevent shoulder, arm, and back injuries, while making it easier on those with arthritis.
Put together a garden caddy. One with wheels will make it easier to store and transport tools from one area to another. The caddy should be lightweight and easy to carry or push through dirt and grass.
For watering, use a hose to avoid carrying around a heavy watering can which may cause strain and injury to the back shoulders or arms. Use a hose head that has numerous settings to make watering as easy as possible.
Gardening can be a simple activity, and can be done in a backyard, balcony, or even on a window box at an apartment building. Senior citizens of all abilities can take part in this activity, which is a known stress reliever, and will provide a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day. It is important to have fun but know your limits and stop when you get tired. If mobility is limited and you need physical assistance, or a you just prefer a companion to chat with while you do your gardening, consider home care assistance from a trusted home care agency in Toronto, or your place of residence. Don’t allow physical limitations to keep you stuck in the house with little to no activity, as you look forward to warmer weather over the next few weeks and months.