May is almost over and June is upon us! In the Northwest, the skies are lightening and the sun is shining. It’s a GREAT time to get outside! More time to be outside gives us a great opportunity to get some needed exercise, spend time in nature, and cultivate something beautiful. That’s right, it’s time to start gardening.
Benefits of Gardening
Gardening can have a great and beneficial impact on the environment, a person’s physical health and emotional health. This is true for people of all ages. Though there might be certain changes that need to be made depending on a senior’s level of physical fitness or health concerns, gardening really can be tailored to fit their needs.
One of the greatest benefits to gardening is the physical benefit and exercise associated with working with plants. Gardening increases the use of many different muscles, offering a chance to increase strength. It also encourages mobility and flexibility. These are essential for any older adult wanting to age at home. Vegetable gardening also provides a great source of healthy foods that are free of pesticides and easily accessible.
Gardening is also great for you emotional health. Just being outside in nature can make you feel great! In fact, according to one nursery website, “studies show that merely looking at a garden or plants can generate changes in such things as blood pressure, heart activity, muscle tension, and brain electrical activity.”Gardening reduces your stress as well, making you feel at peace. This can be very beneficial for the elderly who might be experiencing health problems, financial issues, or battling loneliness.
Though all of these benefits are great, we must tailor gardening to the needs of the senior that you care for. Some ways you can do this are by using raised beds to reduce the amount of bending done when gardening. You can also consider container or even windowsill gardening for any senior who has trouble with balance or walking into the yard. Make sure that you have lightweight tools to use and provide a sun hat or shade to help prevent sun damage. A caregiver should also provide chairs to rest near by and plenty of water to drink to stay hydrated.
By doing all of these things, you can provide a peaceful, fun, and satisfying experience for whom ever you care for!