gardening for seniors

Growing with age: Gardening in senior communities

Don’t let age stop your residents from enjoying the beauties of a garden. Starting a garden in your assisted-living or senior centre brightens the entire community and provides many benefits to you and your residents.

Why Invest in a Garden?

A garden is not only a pretty sight, but in an assisted living environment, it provides many health benefits for those gardening it as well as those who prefer to simply take in its beauty. Gardening is a great outlet for stress and increases mood and overall mental health. It is known to produce positive results in dementia patients and even reduces the risk of getting Alzheimer’s Disease by fifty percent. Even if some of your residents do not partake in the activity of gardening, simply looking at green spaces reduces stress levels in humans and prevents many health issues associated with stress such as high blood pressure, heart disease, digestive problems, and depression.

Tips for a Senior-friendly Garden

As we grow, it gets harder for us to help plants grow. Here are some tips on how to set up a senior-friendly garden.

Grow Plants in Raised Beds: 

Raised flower beds make it easy for anyone to reach, even from a wheelchair. It also helps gardeners stay balanced while planting or watering. A flower bed raised to the height of two or three feet is generally the most accessible. A Sleeper Raised Bed or Deep Root Wooden Planter provide the necessary elevated height and are perfect for any senior-friendly garden.

Planting Soil and Self-Watering Containers for Easy Maintenance:

It is best to select a planting soil with a reduced need for weeding or tilling. This prevents arduous labour-intensive preparation that will hurt or strain the back. When buying seeds, you can also opt for seeds with the soil already mixed in. Self-watering planters and containers are also a great way to reduce maintenance of the garden if seniors are unable to water the plants every day. These can be bought or even posed as a do-it-yourself activity for senior residents.

Accessories:

Although a garden is for plants, don’t forget to provide the essentials for humans to thrive in them as well. Remember to add appropriate shaded areas for gazebos and benches for resting, as well as provide large and easily manoeuvrable paths for walkers, canes, or wheelchairs to access. It is also good to stock up on stools and padded knee pads to help prevent back and knee strain, and supply gardening gloves with an extra firm grip for seniors with arthritis. These tools should be kept in easily reachable storage locations. Installing motion sensor lights for use at night might also be a good idea to provide adequate lighting which can prevent falls.