When you think of gardening, the first thing that comes to mind may be the blood, sweat, and tears that go into making a flourishing landscape. Often to those who do not think they have a green thumb, they may look at maintaining a yard as more of a necessary chore as opposed to a relaxing hobby. Especially as you age, you may begin to feel that your body can’t take all of the kneeling and bending required to maintain a garden. However, in a recent article from USA Today, gardening has been used to improve both the physical and physiological conditions of many patients as a mild form of aerobic activity. In fact, horticultural therapywas pioneered in the late 1940’s as a form of rehabilitation for war veterans. This form of therapy was proven to improve coordination, balance, and endurance of patients after only 10 weeks.
That is why I whole-heartedly believe that if you have a passion for gardening, there is no age limit. Also, if you are a senior who is looking for a low-impact, creative project that you can do at your own pace from the comfort of your own home, then you may want to consider taking up gardening as a hobby. Here at the Belly Charms Blog, I have three easy tips you should know if you or a loved one is 65 or older and plans on taking on gardening.
1. Invest in the Right Tools
It is very important that before you begin any hobby that you have the proper tools and equipment. Many elderly people who suffer from mild, non-life-threatening conditions such as arthritis, find it difficult or even impossible to use regular gardening tools. When investing in gardening equipment, be sure the focus on lightweight tools that also have the proper grips and hand cushioning. In addition, just because you can no longer sit low to the ground doesn’t mean you have to give up gardening. Raised flowerbeds are a great compromise to allow you to continue to garden comfortably into your golden years. These flowerbeds can be raised to a comfortable seating or standing height and can be built using a number of materials including wood, concrete, brick, or stone. If you aren’t up to building your own raised flowerbed, many pre-made flowerbeds are sure to be available at your local home improvement store.
2. Have a Gardening Buddy
One important tip to always keep in mind if you are elderly or disabled is that you should never garden alone. We advise against gardening by yourself for a number of reasons, the biggest reason being to maintain safety. You never know what could happen while you are outside gardening. If it is a hot day, you or a loved one could become overheated or lightheaded and faint. Also, if you are kneeling down or maneuvering through outdoor terrain you could lose your footing, fall, and potentially injure yourself. One of the most important things to keep in mind while gardening outdoors is to have a gardening partner. If you do not have a friend or family member nearby, there are a number of senior home care services that will come to your home a couple times a week to help with light housekeeping and errands. Even if you only have a senior helper visit once a week, it will give you and your family added peace of mind that you won’t be alone, should something go wrong.
3. Start Slow
Lastly, the best piece of advice we have at the Garden Center is to pace yourself. Gardening is a marathon not a race, and the most beautiful things in life take time. Depending on the type of plants, vegetables, or flowers you want to plant you should also do your research as to when is the best time of year to plant or prune them. This will help your garden will thrive! If you make a plan, do your research, and work on your gardening project a little at a time, it won’t be long until you start to see all of your hard work turn into a beautiful work of art right outside of your door.