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6 Blooming Good Benefits of Gardening for the Elderly

Article by Daniel Westhead Daniel Westhead Sure Safe Alarms
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Whether you're feeling down in the dumps or stiff from too much sitting, gardening is the perfect solution. Alongside providing a much-needed dose of vitamin D – often celebrated for its mood-boosting benefits – weeding and watering are fantastic senior-friendly workouts.

Need some inspiration to get outside for yourself or a loved one? Keep reading as we explain all the awesome benefits of gardening for the elderly.

How does gardening help the elderly?

Boosts physical fitness

So, how does gardening help the elderly? Above all else, it's a fabulous way to prevent age-related wear and tear. The more mobile you are, the less chance you have of developing conditions like arthritis. Plus, if you already suffer from cartilage loss and joint pain, gentle exercise is the best way to prevent further deterioration.

Perhaps most importantly, regular movement decreases the risk of falls – one of the leading causes of injury and death for people over 65. Strengthening the supporting muscles in the stomach, back and legs is the best way to improve stability.

However, if you're still concerned, consider a digital safety alarm. The device automatically connects the wearer to a SureSafe operator, family member or friend in an emergency. This is especially handy when pottering around in the garden, away from the telephone.

Provides fresh, nutritious produce

As well as exercise, gardening for the elderly produces delicious and nutritious mealtime ingredients, including iron-rich leafy greens, medicinal herbs and colourful fruits – all of which promote healthy gut microbiome and bowel movements.

Even better, adopting a healthy diet might prevent the onset of dementia. One study showed that people who followed the MIND diet (a predominantly plant-based diet) had a 53% reduced rate of Alzheimer's disease compared to those who didn’t.

The MIND diet limits red meat, sweets, cheese, butter, fried food and alcohol, and focuses on:

  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Other vegetables
  • Berries
  • Whole grains
  • Fish (one serving per week)
  • Poultry (two servings per week)
  • Beans and legumes
  • Nuts
  • Olive oil

Sharpens mental processes

The worst thing for brain health is whittling away the day in front of the television, not having to concentrate or engage with the outside world. Luckily, gardening for the elderly is the antidote to mental lethargy. You have to remember what plants you have, different watering schedules and how to care for each unique species.

Enhances emotional wellbeing

Birds chirping, a cool breeze on your skin, blue skies overhead – there's nothing more relaxing than the great outdoors. Time and time again, research shows a definitive link between emotional wellbeing and nature.

Chemically, exposure to sunlight ramps up vitamin D production, which is essential for mood regulation. On a more spiritual level, people tend to feel more connected to themselves and others after absorbing the beauty of the natural world. You don't need to spend hours outside to reap the rewards – a few minutes a day is enough to banish the blues.

Fosters a sense of community

Gardening for the elderly doesn't have to be a solitary activity. Instead, search for local community plots where you can chat and cultivate with other green fiends. Loneliness is a huge challenge for seniors, so this can be a great avenue of support.

Worried about yourself or a loved one venturing far and wide? There's no need to stress when you invest in a mobile alarm with GPS tracking. There'll be someone on hand to help no matter the location, giving you extra peace of mind.

Cultivates purpose

Finally, gardening cultivates purpose. It's not unusual for people to become a little listless once they've retired, particularly if they're also managing poor health. Rather than falling into depression, it's helpful to establish a consistent routine that prioritises enjoyable activities, from planting seeds to catching up with friends.

The needs of the elderly when gardening

Now we've run through the benefits, let's talk about the needs of the elderly when gardening. While you might be able to crouch down and leap up like a spring chicken, age has a way of slowing everything down. Unless you want to pull a muscle or – even worse – have a fall, you must take care with any physical activity.

Alongside wearing a personal safety pendant, here are a few other tips to keep in mind:

  • Wear a hat, sunglasses and suncream to protect yourself against harmful UV rays – older skin is thinner and more susceptible to bumps and burns
  • Purchase protective equipment, including glasses and gloves
  • Hydrate – you don't want to get lightheaded while bending and standing
  • Think mindful movement – take your time when changing positions
  • Take regular breaks – gardening should be a leisurely activity, not a race

Help in the garden for the elderly

Of course, the most obvious help in the garden for the elderly is hiring a professional to keep on top of the more challenging jobs, like weeding and mowing the lawn. However, many seniors want to stay independent for as long as possible, so they might be reluctant to enlist outside help.

If this sounds familiar, there are plenty of ways to make gardening more accessible. The most obvious is raising plant beds so you don't have to bend over. Vertical planters and hanging baskets are beautiful, back-friendly and higher up for convenience. You could also think outside the box and transform everyday items like wheelbarrows into flowery focal points.

On top of this, think about your tools. Ideally, they should be lightweight, extendable and easy to grip. You can find adaptive equipment at most gardening centres and hardware stores, so there's no need to struggle with awkward handles and fiddly controls.

Stay confident outside with a SureSafe Alarm

Staying confident outside is important if you want to keep gardening for as long as possible. That's why we've created a range of easy-to-use personal safety alarms with clever features like fall detection and GPS tracking.

To learn more about our products, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Call 0800 112 3201, use our live chat or request a call back via our online form, and we’ll be in touch shortly.

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