If you care for an elderly person, be it a family member or somebody that you are not related to, you should consider introducing him or her to gardening. There are a host of health and holistic benefits to be reaped from taking such action, which makes it a worthwhile path for you to embark on as you seek to provide the best care possible.
Of course, certain medical conditions and physical impairments will make gardening a tough task for some older people. If plans are put into place and a few changes are made, however, you can get the elderly person that you care for outside regardless of their restrictions.
To find out more about gardening for the elderly, be sure to read on.
Benefits of gardening for older people
Gardening is such a benefit pastime for seniors because it:
- Is an engaging and enjoyable form of physical exercise
- Improves flexibility and mobility
- Encourages people to work on their motor skills
- Gives the core muscles a workout
- Helps to fend off illnesses such osteoporosis
- Reduces stress levels
- Promotes relaxation
- Provides people with stimulation over a sustained period of time
- Encourages social interaction
- Can result in nutritious foods being produced
Health and wellbeing factors that must be considered
To make gardening as safe a pastime as it can possibly be for the elderly person that you are caring for, it’s important that you consider the following all-important factors surrounding their health and wellbeing:
- Their fragile skin might be susceptible to bruising and sunburn.
- Their depleted peripheral vision may force them to put themselves in danger (they might miss a step and subsequently suffer a nasty fall, for example).
- Their body temperature might fluctuate and thus force them to suffer from heat exhaustion while they work outside.
Changes that can be made to make gardens more accessible
Fear not, as there are plenty of changes that you can make to ensure that the older person that you are caring for is granted the freedom to enjoy his or her garden. Here are just a few modifications that can be made to make their garden more accessible:
- Lay down grass instead of hard-floor tiling to protect the elderly person in question should they slip and fall — click here to find advice on what type of grass seed you should be laying depending on your geographical location.
- Fit vertical planters and trellis space to make harvesting more accessible.
- Raise the planting beds to make sure that the elderly person isn’t forced to bend and stoop.
- Invest in adaptable pieces of equipment and modify tools with foam to ensure that they are easy to grip.
- Provide shade areas to protect the elder person against sunburn and heat exhaustion.
- Make sure there are stable chairs and tables found somewhere in the yard area.
- Install a drip feeder system so that the task of watering is made easier.
- Ensure that protective shoes, comfortable clothes, and gardening gloves are worn at all times.
- Invest in security gates and fences if the elderly person in question suffers with memory loss and is liable to wander off without first notifying another person.