Health Benefits of Gardening for Seniors
Depending where you live, it may not look like Spring out there, but that doesn't mean you can't begin your spring gardening indoors!
There are many health benefits to gardening, whether indoors or outdoors. Gardening has powerful emotional, physical, and social benefits for people of all ages. Particularly for seniors, gardening provides greater opportunities for strengthening fine motor functions, relieves anxiety and stress, and encourages a positive mental well-being.
Gardening, even if it's simply filling small pots with seasonal flowers or herbs, allows seniors with limited mobility to activate fine motor functioning in their hands when planting and watering. For others, gardening in raised garden beds, vertical wall gardens, and providing suitable tools, such as long handled and sturdy grip tools, can provide ample benefits to their physical health by building strength, lubricating joints, and strengthening range of motion and mobility.
Benefits of gardening outdoors comes with many additional perks, such as fresh air and Vitamin D. However, even in the indoors, planting flower bulbs, mixing soil, and arranging potted herbs can elicit the senses of touch, smell, sight, sound, and depending what you're planting - taste! It strengthens fine motor functioning, allows opportunities to socialize with others, share memories, and encourages mindfulness and focus.
For many, gardening can create a sense of purpose and is a very rewarding activity because it allows people to experience success, build confidence, and connect with their physical environment. It’s very satisfying for seniors, especially those with dementia, to nurture plants and it’s an activity that people feel naturally connected to. For people with Alzheimer’s who struggle with restlessness or agitation, gardening can bring relaxation and concentration, while relieving tension, frustration, and reduce the effects of high blood pressure.
Gardening is a great exercise for the mind and body and also boosts energy levels. So if you're a foodie, pick up some basil, mint, or rosemary. If its the pleasing scents of flowers, try planting crocuses, daffodils, or tulips for a colourful and beautiful addition to your home. Whatever you choose, enjoy the benefits all season long!
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