It’s important for seniors to stay active and continue enjoying their hobbies – even after moving into a retirement community. For seniors, gardening can extend far beyond a simple hobby – it can improve the health and happiness of seniors as well.

Whether you’re tending to your favorite flowers or nutritious veggies, here’s how gardening can be the perfect warm weather activity for seniors!

Benefits of Gardening for Seniors

  • Physical Activity – Activities like planting, pruning and watering give seniors a moderate amount of exercise that can improve their flexibility, coordination, muscular and cardiovascular health, and general physical wellness.
  • Pain Reduction – Staying busy in the garden can keep seniors’ minds off of aches and pains. Being in nature – and participating in a constructive activity – can help reduce stress and promote relaxation.
  • Socialization – Gardening can create social opportunities for both those who tend to the beautiful plants and the people who enjoy their beauty.

Work Smarter, Not Harder

Some seniors may find themselves facing common struggles of aging, such as arthritis, when trying to keep up with their beloved hobbies. By getting creative, seniors can still enjoy the benefits of gardening.

Seniors who have trouble bending over or getting on their hands and knees can practice vertical gardening. By growing plants on a trellis or in elevated pots, they can garden in a physically comfortable position. This should help those who feel stiff or sore and don’t want to garden. The key is being sure not to do more than your body tells you that you can handle.

It is also recommended that senior gardeners work in short sessions (typically about one hour) several times a week as opposed to a full day. Be sure to use sunscreen, wear a hat and eye protection, and stay hydrated with plenty of water.

Gardening Safety Tips for Seniors

While gardening can be great for the mental and physical health of seniors, there are some safety tips to remember before heading for the tool shed to get your rake and shovel.

  • Don’t overdo it. People are more likely to have an accident when they’re tired and aren’t paying attention. Be careful about overexposure to the heat and humidity. Heat-related illnesses can sneak up on you.
  • Conduct a safety check before you start working on your garden. Look for trip hazards such as loose steps, and exposed roots. Make sure garden hoses and extension cords are put away. Remember, sloped ground can be hazardous. Also, avoid ladders and standing on things like overturned buckets to reach tree branches.
  • Carry a cell phone with you whenever possible so you have a way to call for help if there is a problem.

At Bethesda, we know that staying interested in hobbies keeps seniors active and happy. Visit our blog to discover more beneficial activities for seniors.