Spring is on its way! To some, that means cleaning and sorting through different areas of your home, getting outdoors for much-needed sunlight and exercise, or heading to the plant nursery to find spring bulbs and seeds for your garden!
Spring has always been known as a season for new growth, rebirth, and hope. During the Spring, animals begin to come out of hibernation, flowers and trees begin their re-growth and bloom, and people use this time for "spring cleaning" and looking hopeful at the year and weather ahead.
Gardening "enables people to get fresh air and sunshine while still staying in a place that is comfortable and familiar to them."
This is especially useful for older people who have started to experience problems with their memory, as gardening can help your mind stay positive, which can counteract the stresses caused by memory loss.
Gardening in itself can be a much-needed addition to the lives of older adults. 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 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 the range of motion and mobility.
The benefits of gardening outdoors come with many additional perks, such as fresh air and Vitamin D. However, even 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.
Safety Tips for Gardeners
Here are several tips that older adults may consider in order to ensure safety and protection while gardening.
Protection from the sun is essential. Use sunscreen and wear a hat.
Gloves should be worn to protect the skin from scrapes and bruises.
Drink water regularly to maintain hydration levels.
Regular breaks should be taken in order not to overstretch the body.
Insect repellent should be used in order to avoid the issue of bites.
Shaded areas should be incorporated into the garden where possible to provide relief from sunlight.
For anyone who enjoys gardening and cannot do so independently, you can call Ideal Caregivers 4u for a caregiver to be present and assist with other household duties. This is a safe choice to ensure that your loved one remains safe while gardening independently.
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 it's 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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