Gardening is a hobby enjoyed by millions of Americans of all ages. Many elderly adults feel like they have to give up gardening as they age, because they can no longer bend, kneel or lift. Also, they may not have the strength and stamina required for traditional gardening. However, if your aging loved one wants to garden but is dependent on you and an elder care provider for help with daily tasks, it may seem like an impossible dream. The good news is that gardening is possible for aging adults of all abilities and interest. You’ll just need to tailor the garden experience to your elderly relative.
Benefits of Gardening for Seniors
Aging adults with physical and cognitive decline spend many hours at home, with a family caregiver, an elder care provider helping them with the daily duties they can no longer do. In addition to assisting seniors with basic living tasks such as dressing, housekeeping, and meal preparation, family caregivers also need to ensure their aging relatives are mentally stimulated. This means developing hobbies, but because so many activities are off-limits, gardening is ideal.
Gardening is a long-lasting hobby that requires different knowledge and skills for each season. Seniors also benefit from being active and enjoying fresh air and sunshine. Gardening requires visits with elder care providers and family members to garden stores for plants, tools and accessories. It’s also something that seniors can do regardless of ability, as long as family caregivers adapt the garden to their elderly loved one’s needs.
Accommodations for Senior Gardening
While elderly adults with physical limitations won’t be able to do traditional gardening, they can do quite well using raised beds and containers. These bring the plants and soil up to the aging adult’s level, so they don’t have to bend, stoop or kneel. They can access the garden while sitting or even from a wheelchair. Tools like a trowel, weed puller or hand rake should have thick foam handles for seniors with arthritis to grip comfortably. When it comes to watering, aging adults usually do better with a hose that has a sprayer instead of a heavy watering can.
Senior Safety in the Garden
It may seem strange to talk about senior safety in the garden, but family caregivers and elder care providers have a responsibility to make sure the aging adults don’t risk their health and wellness in this new hobby. Seniors should always wear sunscreen and a wide hat outdoors to protect their skin. Other safety issues to think about are slip and fall accidents, lifting heavy objects, dehydration, insect bites and cuts and bruises. With an elder care provider there to assist, aging adults can avoid most of these garden hazards.
The best part about getting your aging loved one into gardening is the rewards of flowers, vegetables and fruits. Plus, the involvement and focus that gardening brings to seniors makes it an excellent hobby for even the most physically limited.
If you are considering Elder Care in Avon Lake, OH, for an aging loved one, please contact the caring staff at Four Seasons Home Care today: (440) 716-9100.