What Are The Benefits of Gardening for Seniors?
May 22nd, 2023
Gardening for seniors is a pastime that reaps rewards not only during the activity, but long afterwards too. Whether you’re just getting started with gardening for the elderly, or are a seasoned horticulturist, it’s an enriching hobby that can be enjoyed socially or solo, and it has many options to explore to keep senior minds and green fingers active.
Types Of Gardening For Seniors
One of the benefits of gardening for seniors is that gardening comes in all shapes and sizes, and so there is a way for everyone to enjoy it. From elaborate landscaping to pretty window boxes, there’s a scale of gardening to suit all, and many simple ways to get started if you haven’t tried it before.
Naturally, when we talk about gardening for seniors, the first thing that springs to mind is getting out in your own front or back garden and making the most of your own plot of land. A morning spent mowing the lawn can be a time to zone out and enjoy your surroundings, while an afternoon spent tending to shrubs and flowers provides fresh air and lets creativity flow.
Gardening for seniors can also help with the transition from a larger family home when you’re ready to downsize. Having a garden to maintain and enjoy offers familiarity and is one less change to navigate. Even if the garden is smaller, planting favourite flowers and designing the new space can be very comforting.
For those who may not have access to a garden, or where mobility is an issue, gardening for the elderly can take the form of indoor plants or even small potted outdoor arrangements like hanging baskets. Space doesn’t have to be a barrier to gardening for seniors and can, in fact, spark creativity. It can also be a way for newcomers to the gardening world to have a go. Planting some easy-to-care-for plants or flowers and maintaining them is a less labour-intensive option and is one of many simple hobbies that doesn’t cost too much money or time.
An allotment can extend your existing garden, providing a separate place to grow produce or get away from the house for a bit. It can also make gardening for seniors who don’t have their own garden a reality. An allotment is a small bit of land, usually leased off the local council that can be used to grow plants, fruits, and vegetables, or to keep small insects like bees.
Although each individual allotment belongs to an individual, allotments are community spaces where people often meet and make friends. Staying at home doesn’t always offer this social aspect, which is one of the benefits of gardening in an allotment.
Grow Your Own
Gardening for seniors can be a productive pursuit if you use it to grow your own fruits and vegetables. For complete beginners, growing your own herbs, like basil and mint can also be fun and fruitful.
Fruits and vegetables will need certain conditions to grow well; for example, tomatoes, cucumbers, or peppers are best grown in a greenhouse, although a conservatory could yield some results too. For seniors with only indoor space, herbs can grow on windowsills in small quantities.
As we mentioned, if gardening for the elderly involves an allotment, there are many types of fruits and vegetables you can grow there, and use in delicious healthy recipes.
The Benefits of Gardening For Seniors
There are many avenues for the elderly to go down if they want to turn their hand to gardening. So whether it’s some simple herb planting or a sprawling back garden, what are the actual benefits of gardening for the elderly?
Gardening for seniors is a great way to increase levels of physical activity. It’s gentle enough to be enjoyed by most seniors but can be more rigorous depending on the activity. The act of gardening involves using muscles and joints, which will improve or maintain endurance and strength. It can also help to stave off osteoporosis through weight bearing and resistance movements.
Studies have shown that contact with nature is therapeutic for the elderly and so simply getting outside is one of the biggest benefits of gardening for seniors. Fresh air and the outdoors can do wonders for the mind and body, promoting mindfulness and helping to lessen the effects of things like stress, anxiety, and depression.
Even for those who don’t have a garden or allotment and are enjoying gardening for seniors by looking after indoor plants or patio flowers, you can still extend your hobby to the outdoors. A trip to the garden centre for an afternoon, or even a day out at a National Trust location can indulge a love of all things green and floral.
Gardening for the elderly can be a chance to spend some time alone and enjoy the peace and quiet. However, it can also be a social opportunity and a chance to spend time with friends and family. The benefits of gardening for seniors with grandchildren are days spent teaching the next generation and passing on a passion. Meanwhile, allotments are a perfect place to meet like-minded seniors and strike up conversation about a shared interest.
There are also events, such as seed swaps, where gardeners get together and swap unused seeds or other gardening items, promoting a real feeling of belonging, which can also reduce any loneliness some elderly people sometimes feel.
Sense Of Purpose
Planting something and watching it grow, or maintaining a natural environment for several years can offer a real sense of purpose no matter how old you are. Retirement and ageing usually bring a big change in the pace of life, so finding a hobby that has a real end result and that produces beautiful produce or exquisite flowers makes gardening for seniors rejuvenating and rewarding.
Making Gardening For The Elderly Easier
Although gardening for seniors is a gentle hobby that can be taken at a slow pace, there are still steps you can take that can make it safer, and gardening aids for the elderly that can make more laborious tasks a little easier, including:
- Taking regular breaks to drink water or rest for a short while
- Staying in the shade, wearing a hat, and using sun cream on sunnier days
- Gardening stools designed to relieve any pressure from bending down to do tasks like weeding
- Long-handled trowels, cultivators, and hoes also make jobs easier on the back
- Padded kneelers are more gentle on the knees, making gardening for seniors more comfortable
Investing in just a few gardening aids for the elderly can allow you to enjoy a well-loved hobby for longer, or make it easier for new gardeners to get started. Age needn’t be a reason to give up gardening. In fact, if mobility has resulted in you having to stop other hobbies, then gardening can be a wonderful alternative to try.
Gardening For Seniors In A Care Home
The benefits of gardening are numerous, from the social life it can bring to the fresh air and from the exercise to the simple act of growing something beautiful. For those seniors who have moved into a care home, gardening can be a way to hold onto some of the things from home and to help with settling in.
Many of our care homes are surrounded by leafy lawns with well-tended gardens and tranquil outdoor areas. Getting outside and enjoying nature is an important part of the living experience in a care home, as well as an opportunity to take part in any activities centred around the outdoors and gardening.
If you’d like to visit one of our care homes and see the facilities and services on offer, please contact us and our team will be happy to arrange a visit.