Enjoying time in the garden after retirement is a wonderful perk. The best news is that you can take a rest after a couple of hours. The urgency of digging holes, maintaining flowerbeds, and keeping a vegetable garden diminishes when one approaches retirement age and no longer has to report to work the following Monday. However, older folks still have options to choose from.
You can continue gardening into your senior years with the help of certain extremely useful tools and techniques. When it comes to elders, gardening is more important than ever because it provides a range of additional health benefits.
Benefits of Gardening for Older People
To begin with, gardening is a great way to add some movement to your life. Small amounts of physical activity in the elderly have been shown to lengthen life expectancy and improve quality of life.
It’s not just about living a longer and happier life. There are numerous benefits to gardening for the elderly, including the obvious ones of having pleasure and saving money.
Gardening is an excellent and effective form of exercise and physical therapy. When you’re gardening, you’re doing something that strengthens your muscles, improves your flexibility, and increases your stamina and aerobic capacity. It’s also quite low-impact.
Being exposed to the sun’s rays boosts your vitamin D production. Essential for bone and immune system function, vitamin D is a must. There is a reduced risk of osteoporosis as a result.
Hand strength is also enhanced. Gardeners tend to have more dexterous hands as they get older than those who don’t.
Regular gardening has been linked to an increase in serotonin levels, as well as a drop in anxiety and depression. Mycobacterium vaccae, a bacteria found in soil, is nature’s antidepressant, according to researchers.
Benefits extend to those with Alzheimer’s and other forms of memory loss. New talents can be learned and old ones rejuvenated via the practice of gardening. In addition, it helps strengthen memory, boost attention span, reduce irritation and rage, reaffirm responsibility, and improve social interaction.
Not only that, but it’s also gratifying. Aside from picking your own food, you receive a sense of satisfaction from watching the plants grow and mature.
Gardening Tips for Older People
It may be required to make certain adjustments to the garden design in order to accommodate older gardeners. Use these recommendations to keep your garden and yourself active for the coming years.
Raise Your Beds
Since gardening requires so much bending and kneeling, it becomes difficult for the elderly. It has the potential to be a considerable source of trip and fall hazards. Raised beds are an easy solution to this issue. Better soil drainage, reduced area requirements, and higher soil quality all contribute to the overall benefit.
Many hours are needed to keep a lawn in good condition. A few elderly folks prefer to focus on flowers, herbs, or vegetables, rather than other types of plants. Lawns that require continual attention can benefit from reducing the amount of grass that must be tended to.
Experts recommend that high-maintenance grass should be replaced with a ground cover for elder people. Herbaceous ground cover like creeping phlox, low-growing herbs like wooly thyme, and woodier ground cover like juniper are examples of low-maintenance groundcovers.
In addition, it is a good idea to lay gravel or other decorative stones. They can be used as a container garden backdrop. Trees and fountains are other good options for low-maintenance landscapes.
Watering and Fences
In order to reduce the amount of time spent watering plants by hand, you can install an irrigation system. Add low-voltage or solar-powered lighting on walkways and steps at night.
Building a fence to keep out animals such as deer and other pests may be important, depending on where you live. Gardeners with memory issues or tendencies to wander might consider installing gate latches and locks.
Plants that grow on trellises and shafts are easy to maintain. It’s an excellent idea to grow cucumbers, beans, and squash in a vertical garden. As a plus, it reduces the amount of walking involved in gardening for the elderly, who may have difficulty doing so.
You can also reduce the weight of each planter by planting in resin or foam-walled boxes and using soil-free combinations that are less in weight. Put larger pots on casters to make them even more portable.
To avoid straining your ligaments, make sure you’re using a good ergonomic form when kneeling. Keep your heels on the floor while you squat. Try placing only one knee down if you kneel.
A kneeler stool is used by some gardeners for weeding. These are portable kneelers and benches that act as both. You may sit on them while weeding and picking using the same muscles you use to tie your shoes if you utilize the bench side.
To make it easier to harvest your garden’s produce, keep your rows as narrow as possible. Both sides of the aisle are accessible, allowing you to get to more rows. Gardening may be done while relaxing with this bench device.
On the other hand, the seat portion transforms into a kneeling platform. You can use the bench legs as handles to lift yourself out of the chair. For those who can still kneel but merely need some assistance, the kneeler is an excellent self-help tool.
If you don’t employ good form when doing heavy pruning, you run the risk of injuring your wrists.
Always keep your wrist in a neutral or straight position while pruning. This technique allows you to cut or prune with less effort because your grip strength is at its maximum. When you bend your wrist at an angle, you put yourself at risk for tendinitis as well as losing strength.
Ergonomic pruners feature comfortable handles and cogs that make cutting simpler. As you cut, some handles rotate, reducing the tension on your hand muscles.
Make sure you buy pruners that are the proper size for your needs. Closed pruners can be used to measure length. About a half-inch of the handle should protrude below your little finger.
For Seniors with Mobility Issues
There are a few solutions that can help you travel around the garden more easily.
Adding an attachment like a cart to a riding lawnmower is now possible on nearly all of them. The 4-wheeler or ATV is a common workhorse, and a farm utility vehicle is even more versatile.
Try bringing nature indoors for older adults who are confined to their beds or wheelchairs. Learn how to create a low-maintenance terrarium in an old glass or plastic container or plant a tiny garden in pots on your windowsill. Having a few plants around will do wonders for their mood.
Safety Tips for Older Gardeners
Older folks and their caregivers should be aware of the following.
- Any cuts, bruises, or bug bites should be treated right away.
- Use power tools with caution.
- Begin by warming up and taking frequent pauses while gardening.
- Paths and walkways should be level and non-slip at all times.
- Consider working in the garden in the morning or at night to avoid being exposed to the sun’s harmful rays. Don’t forget to put on sunscreen.
- Safely store your gardening tools.
- Protective footwear, light, comfortable clothing, a cap, and gardening gloves are all necessary.
Let your age not hold you back when it comes to planting new flowers or harvesting a new crop of delicious vegetables. All of these techniques and tools at your disposal may make things more fun, comfortable, and gratifying if you take advantage of them.
Give a taste of your produces to anyone who claims that gardening is too difficult for you and let their fabulous reaction speak for itself.