Gardening can be a fun activity for seniors to spend time with their family, relax for themselves, spend time outdoors, care for something other than themselves and even provide their own fruits and vegetables. Spring is the perfect time to start making plans for the garden and the weather is perfect for spending time outside.
However, whether you are an experienced gardener or just beginning,
you should take these tips into mind:
1. Wear Sunscreen
Gardening in the sun can be harsh on seniors' skin which is more sensitive to light. Always wear sunscreen with at least 45 SPF before heading out into the garden and be sure to reapply regularly. It would also be smart to wear a sun hat or long sleeves to prevent sun damage and spotting.
2. Use Ergonomic Tools
Gardening can be very hard on seniors' backs, hands and wrists. However, with the right tools, gardening can be made more comfortable and enjoyable. Try a rolling seat, cushioned kneeler, knee pads or special hand tools with adjusted grips to fit their specific needs.
3. Switch up your Routine
To get a more well-rounded exercise and rest your back, rotate your daily gardening routine. Work on ground plants one day and then on stand and work on vines and trees the next. Switching things up will work out various muscle groups while giving the other group a rest on alternate days.
4. Begin Earlier
Gardening in the morning when temperatures are lower can reduce chance of heat exhaustion or any other sun-exposure related issues. Start your morning in a relaxing way by working in the garden.
5. Stay Hydrated
It's easy to lose track of time when you're gardening, especially for seniors. Be sure to bring a large bottle of water and maybe even a light snack to stay hydrated on sunny days and prevent dehydration.
6. Work at the Right Pace
As a senior, you may not be able to work at the same pace or rate that you used to, so don't be hard on your self. Work at a comfortable pace that is safe for your physical condition, take breaks when you need to and don't push yourself! Progress is progress no matter what!
7. Bring your Cellphone
Bring your cellphone in case of unexpected falls or accidents so that you can easily call for help.
8. Make it a Social Activity
Try inviting a family member, neighbor or friend to garden with you. You can exchange tips and knowledge about gardening and both benefit from the finished product of their work. You can even share lunch afterword!
9. Safety Proof your Garden
Outdoor spaces have major potential for accidents. Before you begin working in your garden, make sure there aren't any rocks or roots in your path that could lead to falls. Also, be sure to look out for slick spots or forgotten tools that could cause you to trip or slip.
10. Attend to Injuries
If an elderly gardener has pre-existing injuries or develops injuries while gardening, tend to them immediately and take a break from gardening if necessary. Whether a cut, bruise, or bite, take care of it before you begin to work again. Gardening with open wounds can easily lead to infection, especially in seniors with weakened immune systems.
Gardening provides many mental and physical benefits for seniors. Not only is it a great way to stay active and get outside, but gardening can improve overall mobility, dexterity and reduce stress. Follow these simple tips to ensure that you or your elderly loved one can garden safely and enjoy their time.