The cool dampness of rich soil. The heat of the sun. The happy trills of songbirds. Gardening has the ability to engage every one of our senses, and some studies have found a strong link between gardening and senior health. Regardless of ability level or any space restrictions, there’s always a way to help older adults experience the pleasures of planting outdoors or indoors, watching new growth appear, and harvesting.
Spark interest (or renew interest) in the wonderful world of gardening for an older adult you love, and discover:
- A brighter outlook on life. Reports have discovered that when compared with other hobbies, gardening is typically the winner in fighting stress levels and improving mood. Participants in the research study worked on a stress-inducing task, and were then instructed to either spend thirty minutes gardening outside, or 30 minutes reading inside. Blood tests clearly showed a lower level of cortisol – a stress hormone – in the gardening group.
- Improved strength, flexibility, and stamina. Believe it or not, gardening can provide a cardio workout in many cases, but even sitting in place while undertaking gardening tasks can help strengthen and build muscles. The basic acts of bending, reaching, twisting, and pulling can also increase flexibility and stamina.
- Less dementia risk. An intriguing and detailed study of nearly 3,000 participants has revealed that dementia risk is reduced by as much as 36 percent in adults over age 60 who participated in gardening and similar physical activities.
- The opportunity to make friends. Community gardens bring neighbors together for a common purpose, providing opportunities to establish friendships. The American Community Gardening Association offers its members a chance to find a community garden in their area – or, to start a brand new one.
An indoor garden is fantastic for those who cannot get outside or in the event the weather isn’t cooperating. Decorate small clay pots with paint or markers, and fill with potting soil and a variety of herb seeds. Or create a terrarium with a glass bowl, small shells/stones/etc., potting soil and a few small succulents.
Need some additional ideas for supporting gardening and senior health indoors? Find 10 simple ideas here, and call on Midnight Sun Home Care for a care professional to help! Our compassionate care team is always available to help seniors live life to the fullest through interesting activities such as gardening, along with:
- Conversations and reminiscing
- Mind-stimulating puzzles and games
- Engaging outings
- Favorite (or new) hobbies: knitting, crocheting, mastering a language or musical instrument – the sky is the limit!