6 Safe Gardening Tips for Seniors
If you are a senior who enjoys gardening or the adult child of one, you have likely already discovered its many physical and mental health benefits. Gardening can help older adults maintain muscle strength, experience lower incidences of depression, and enjoy a more positive outlook on life. Some safe gardening tips will help you enjoy gardening even more.
But health conditions that are more common with aging can cause some necessary garden tasks to be more challenging. Arthritis might make it harder to grip the handle of a trowel or pair of pruners. Decreased flexibility can make bending and kneeling painful. If you or your senior loved one is struggling with this favorite hobby, there are steps you can take that will allow you to continue enjoying time in the garden.
6 Gardening Tips for Seniors
Here are a few steps that will help you to continue gardening as you age:
- The Warm Up: Remember that gardening can be a fairly strenuous form of exercise. Taking a few minutes to stretch and warm up your muscles and joints before you head out to work in the garden is important. Stretching and loosening up your muscles and joints can help you prevent an injury.
- Garden Benches: Make it easy to take frequent rest breaks by placing benches and chairs in multiple locations throughout the garden. They are a great way to prevent falls.
- Long-handled Garden Tools: Another safety tip is to invest in long-handled tools that allow you to garden without a lot of bending and kneeling. The Arthritis Foundation has compiled a list of Handy Garden Tools that they scored high for safety and ease-of-use.
- Raised Beds: If it is becoming increasingly difficult for you or the senior gardener you love to safely get up and down from the ground, having raised flower beds installed can help. They can be built at whatever height that is most comfortable.
- Invest in a Wagon: Using a wagon with larger, sturdier wheels instead of a wheelbarrow to move plants and tools around the yard can also increase safety. Wagons are easier to use for gardening than wheelbarrows because they don’t require lifting or pushing.
- Paint the Handles: If you or your senior gardener lives with vision loss, it might be difficult to find tools amid the grass and flowers. One way to make them easier to find is to paint the handles a bright color that will stand out among the greens.
Finally, remember to exercise caution if you are gardening during the steamier days of summer. Try to work in the yard early in the morning and later in the afternoon to avoid the mid-day heat. Also, always keep a bottle of water with you in the garden so you can stay hydrated and avoid experiencing a heat-related illness.