It’s Spring: Gardening Season for Seniors!

March 31, 2014

Spring gardening is an excellent way to interact with seniors and other older adults

Spring gardening is an excellent way to interact with seniors and other older adults

It’s spring time and that means gardening season!  A sunny afternoon spent digging in the warm soil and anticipating the bright blooms or tasty vegetables is an excellent opportunity to encourage activity and exercise for aging parents.

Gardening can be enjoyed if a few adaptations are made that makes the activity enjoyable and manageable for seniors and other older adults.  If you’re ready for the sunshine, try a few of these tips:

Raised gardening beds.

Not only are elevated platforms easier on the back and knees, but the raised beds make it easier to add nutrient-rich soil and mulch while controlling moisture levels.

Paint tool handles.

If limited vision is a concern, paint tool handles a bright color so that they can be found in the grass or soil more easily.  Also, seek out hand tools that feature large, ergonomically designed handles that are easier for arthritic hands to grip.

        Choose plants that tell a story.

If a rose garden served as a focal point in Mom’s yard in earlier years, consider recreating a rose garden in an area where she can enjoy the blooms.  If Dad was known for his bumper crops of yellow squash, plant squash vines at key areas along the walk way so that he can use the familiar vegetable as an orientation aid.

Container gardening.

If time, space or ability limits gardening options consider a bright container with favorite plants in a location that can be viewed by your seniors.

Subscribe to seed catalogs.

Sometimes a rainy afternoon can be passed by planning a garden while thumbing through a colorful seed catalog.  The bright photos and familiar blooms may be just the combination to engage aging parents in an energetic conversation about flower or vegetable gardening.  Try one of the classics, such as Burpee Seed Catalog.

One of the nice things about gardening is that it can be accomplished in a 10 minute period or an entire afternoon.  The garden and plants will always be there any time of morning or afternoon and there are always chores that need tending, at any activity level.

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