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Why Gardening is Great for Seniors
Written By : SeniorsList 
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For seniors who have always had the desire to start their own garden, this may just be the time to do so. With gardening, come many benefits for the elderly. Gardening as a regular hobby can be therapeutic for mental and physical health as well. Research shows seniors who engage in gardening activities tend to have higher self-confidence and better hand strength than those who may not participate in this kind of physical activity. Because taking care of plants generally involves light physical work, gardening can serve to motivate the elderly to exercise more often. Maximizing their physical health through regular gardening, by continuously carrying water buckets and other gardening tools offers many benefits.
There are specific benefits that seniors may gain from gardening since it:

  • Increases physical activity
  • Helps to maintain flexibility and mobility
  • Increases strength and endurance
  • Helps prevent osteoporosis
  • Promotes relaxation
  • Decreases stress levels

Gardening for seniors is a healthy and invigorating activity. There are several age related, mental and physical conditions to consider when deciding to take up gardening:

  • Skin: Seniors are vulnerable to bruises, bumps and sunburn because of their thinning, fragile skin.
  • Vision: Loss of peripheral vision and possible poor eyesight may restrict some activities
  • Mental capabilities: dementia may have affected thinking and memory abilities
  • Skeletal: Balance is not always very good which makes falls more common. Arthritis and osteoporosis may hinder some movements and flexibility.
  • Body temperature: Sensitivity to changes in temperature resulting in dehydration and heat exhaustion are concerns.

Safety is a very important component when gardening. Some safety tips to follow are:

  • If memory loss is an issue, all gates and fences should be secure
  • Immediately attend to any cut, bruises or bug bites
  • Avoid prolonged exposure to the sun by wearing a hat and gardening early in the morning or late in the afternoon
  • Drink plenty of water or juice
  • Wear protective shoes
  • Safely store garden equipment
  • Be sure that walkways are safe

There are plenty of activities that go along with taking care of an edible garden that seniors will undoubtedly enjoy including:

  • Planting
  • Watering
  • Digging
  • Harvesting
  • Food preparation

Changes may be made to garden tools and equipment to facilitate an elderly person who may have limitations:

  • To avoid excessive bending and stooping, raised beds are suggested
  • To modify tools, foam, plastic tubing and tape may be used
  • Lightweight tools that are easy to use are recommended
  • Stable gardening chairs and tables are needed for comfortable gardening
  • Prepare shaded areas when gardening during the summer months
  • Practice vertical planting makes garden beds accessible for planting and harvesting

Gardening is an exhilarating physical activity that seniors are sure to bring a great deal of enjoyment. Senior citizens who take up gardening are generally happier and calmer overall. Whether it is the sunshine that tends to uplift their mood, digging in the soil that replenishes the senses, or simply having feelings of contentment as a result of being a part of the creation of something beautiful and beneficial, gardening can be great for seniors!

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