For many, gardening is a time to relax outside while enjoying one of life’s simple pleasures. That is until the discomfort of kneeling and bending overshadow the joy of the activity. For most Seniors, the pain from arthritis, high blood pressure, or just aches and pains have made gardening into a blissful memory. However, gardening can be therapeutic by reducing stress and being in the fresh outdoors if good for your health. In order to return to the garden, here are some simple changes that can be made to ensure your loved one is safe and pain-free.
Know Your Limitations
The first step to getting back to gardening, is understanding what you are able to accomplish. If a task becomes too complicated, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Sometimes it’s great to make gardening into a shared activity. Invite friends or family members over to enjoy the outdoors along with you. Teaching the grandchildren your knowledge of gardening can create meaningful memories and encourage them to create their own plant nursery.
Especially in Texas, remember not to fight with Mother Nature. Texas summers can be brutal, so be sure to stay hydrated. Try going outdoors earlier in the morning or later in the evening. This way you can beat the heat and still be working outside.
Create a Manageable Space
When deciding what type of space you are wanting to begin gardening in, be sure to keep the size practicable. Making your area into a narrow rectangle will allow you to easily reach the plants in all sections of your garden. It can become a burden to work in a garden that makes you bend, crouch, stoop, or stretch all the time. Building a raised bed, or enlisting a family member to build it for you, can reduce the stress that gardening puts on your body. Using gardening stools or chairs can also make planting more comfortable.
To avoid having to walk far, create your space right outside your door. Lugging around heavy vegetables or other organics can be difficult, but having your garden close by will allow you to bring the food right into your home.
Know What You Are Growing
Understanding how to care for each plant can keep your garden looking green and healthy. Sticking to low key vegetables or flowers means you won’t have to keep up with them as much. This could be beneficial if you tend to life a busy lifestyle or if you tend to be forgetful. Herbs, such as basil, parsley, and chives, can grow anywhere and are wonderful for Seniors. The more herbs you pick from the plant, the more vigorous it grows.
Many aren’t aware, but even certain kitchen scraps can be planted into a garden and regrown. Foods such as green onions, celery, sweet and regular potatoes, garlic, and even pineapples can be regrown with some nurturing, water, and sunlight.
Have the Right Tools
Using the correct tools for each job can make difficult tasks much easier and the reduce strain on your body. Those with Arthritis should look for tools that are light weight and have ergonomic handles. For those that don’t see as well as they used to, try painting the handles of your tools a bright color. If they happen to be dropped, they can quickly be found. Be sure to keep your tools sharp. Sharper tools will allow you to dig in the dirt or trim your plants with ease instead of struggling to do the same job. Gardening gloves are also great to have because they protect your hands and provide some extra cushioning while working.
Technology in your garden is your friend. Using soaker hoses or other helpful irrigation methods keep you from carrying heavy watering cans or hoses to and from your garden. Making things a little easier never hurt anyone.
Here at Cariloop, we understand the struggle for Seniors to complete everyday tasks. We hope that these tips can bring a little sunshine back into your loved one’s life and they can enjoy gardening once again. Caring for an aging loved one can be difficult. If you are feeling that your loved one may need more care than you are able to provide, please take a minute to talk with one of our healthcare coaches about your situation.