Benefits of Gardening for Seniors

In order to remain independent for as long as possible, it is important for seniors to remain as active as possible in order to maintain their health. One simple way to do this is gardening for seniors, activities which include planting, hoeing, and light weeding.  

How Does Gardening Help the Elderly?

Gardening activities for seniors are fun, low-impact, and can be accommodated to fit almost anyone’s needs. They are beneficial in a variety of ways: 

Better Physical Health

Gardening is a form of exercise, so it helps to reduce the risk of many diseases such as stroke and diabetes. It can also help to lower blood pressure, lower instances of depression and cardiovascular disease, and lower a person’s risk of cancer. 

Gardening activities for the elderly also help seniors get more vitamin D as they’re out in the sun, which has been proven to be beneficial for health. Your elderly loved ones may eat healthier, too, as gardening allows them easy and low-cost access to vegetables that they’ve grown themselves. 

Better Mental Health

Gardening for seniors also helps to improve mood, lessen boredom, and lessen loneliness, as it can be a group activity. It is also cognitively stimulating as people learn new things. This helps to decrease dementia risk.

How to Make Gardening Easier for the Elderly

While gardening is a great activity for seniors, it is important to make it safe and easy for them to participate in. Use the following steps to help make gardening easy for the elderly: 

  • Grow low-maintenance plants that don’t require a lot of care and can tolerate drastic changes in temperature and water amount. 
  • Spread the work out. Encourage seniors to only work an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening when the weather is cooler. This will also help them to not get too tired.
  • Ask for help for more difficult gardening tasks such as mowing or moving large objects. 
  • Keep the garden small and easy to manage. An example of this is a raised garden on a balcony or courtyard. Raised beds also make it easier to reach all parts of the garden without having to reach or bend. Shared, community gardens, where many people share the work are also a good choice. “Container Gardening” is another option, where only a few plants are grown in pots. 
  • Place benches and stools within easy reach, or use rolling garden seats in larger gardens so seniors can easily sit while working, or rest if they wish. There are also kneeling benches and pads available. In large gardens wide pathways can be implemented that allow for someone to walk through with a cane or walker or provide room for a wheelchair to pass through. 

Best Gardening Tools for Seniors

It can also be beneficial to use ergonomic tools to make gardening tasks easier for your elderly loved ones. See below for examples of some of the best gardening tools for seniors:

  • Attach potted plants and hanging baskets to pulleys so they can easily be raised or lowered to make them easy to reach.
  • Replace latches on gates with levers or put large knobs on faucets to make these easier to grab and use. 
  • Install permanent soaker hoses or drip-irrigation systems so your elderly loved one doesn’t have to drag a hose around.  
  • Garden carts are useful for carrying a number of items, as well as those that are heavier. 
  • Use soft, foam grips on handles to make them easier to grab. There are also “grabbers” and extension tools. Some of these come with bright handles, or bright tape and labels can be added to assist people with vision problems. Handles on tools can also be cut down to make them lighter, or short-handled or telescoping tools are available.
  • Some hoses are made with special adaptors for the kitchen faucet, so a senior doesn’t have to haul a watering can around. 
  • Planting can even be made more ergonomic. Use seed syringes, seed tape, and seed that comes with the soil already mixed in. Also, instead of seeds, people can transplant larger plants that are already partially grown and are easier to handle.

Contact Us for Help in Locating a Skilled Caregiver Today 

“How does gardening help elderly people stay healthy?” Long story short, it keeps their bodies and minds moving. At Advanced Nursing + Home Support, our compassionate team will go out of their way to help your aging loved one remain independent in their home for as long as possible. We strive to ensure the unique needs of all our clients are met. 

If you are looking for care for a senior you love who is living in Maryland or the D.C. area, contact Advanced Nursing + Home Support today. We have skilled caregivers available that can offer a number of Personal Care and Companion services.