Gardening for Your Health: Easy Ways for Seniors to Keep Growing

April 17, 2017

Gardening on a hill

Growing your own vegetables or flowers can be one of the great joys of life. But for seniors who love gardening, the tasks involved can become challenging. Whether it’s handling large bags of potting soil or keeping up with the weeds, some of the activities of gardening can make older adults feel like they’ve taken on too much with this year’s crop.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Making Gardening Enjoyable for Seniors

Seniors don’t have to give up gardening just because they can no longer lift 40-pound bags of soil or bend down to pull all the weeds. There are lots of things caregivers like you can do to support an older gardener.

From planning the garden to finding the right tools, you can help your loved one enjoy his or her hobby for years to come. And the health benefits are clear. Gardening helps your senior loved one stay fit.

Here are some tips for making gardening a little less burdensome and a little more enjoyable for the older gardeners in your life.

1. Plan the Layout of the Garden

Gardening experts advise carefully planning out the layout of a senior’s garden to minimize the work it takes to care for plants. The number one way to do this is to group similar plants together. Plants that need a lot of water, for example, should all be located in the same area to make watering time easier. Another example: plants that need a lot of attention (i.e. deadheading or frequent harvesting) should be grown next to one another so if your loved one is kneeling down, they can reach all the plants at once.

Consider Raised Beds or Container Gardening

Raised beds offer the benefit of removing the “stooping” factor from gardening. Seniors with low back pain will especially appreciate them. When the plants are at waist level, everything gets easier: planting, tending, weeding, and harvesting.

The same goes for container gardening. Containers can be placed anywhere in the garden, on the patio or even indoors if your loved one can’t always get outside.

Another alternative for gardening with back pain is to use the Juice Plus+® Tower Garden. The Tower Garden is an innovative vertical aeroponic gardening system that uses only water, no dirt. Each Legacy facility utilizes the Juice Plus+® Tower Garden and have had positive results.

Choose the Right Plants

Another way to minimize the work involved with gardening is to choose low-maintenance plants. Less frequent watering, fertilizing, and weeding means less work. Choosing pest-resistant plants will also cut down on maintenance.

Look Into Gardening Tools & Technology That Can Help

A few products and tools that can make gardening more senior-friendly include:

  1. Drip irrigation systems. Before you protest about the expense, it may help to know that modern systems are very affordable. There are setup costs, of course, but the value to your senior loved one means it will more than pay for itself. After all, dragging a heavy garden hose around the garden is tiresome and difficult for anyone, no matter what age they might be.
  2. Garden Wheels. Ditch the wheelbarrow. A garden cart can help your loved one tote his or her tools and materials around the garden. The cart can be pushed or pulled with minimal physical effort, unlike a wheelbarrow which requires some lifting.
  3. Time-Release fertilizer. If you’re using raised beds or containers, the best way to feed your plants is by simply inserting time-released fertilizer pellets into the soil. They allow you to simply “set and forget”.
  4. Polymer Crystals. This idea is similar to the fertilizer pellets. These crystals release water to plant roots over time, removing some of the hassles of regular watering.

 

Active Lifestyles at Legacy Senior Living

If your senior loved one is enjoying an active lifestyle where gardening plays a role, he or she may be interested in independent living options.

Residents who live in independent living communities can enjoy their hobbies and an active lifestyle without the burden and stress of traditional home ownership. And gardeners can still enjoy their favorite hobby in our raised beds and tower gardens!

If you’d like to know more, we’d be happy to answer your questions. Call us or find us online to schedule a private tour!