Senior Activities: Why Gardening is Great and Tips to Get Started

Gardening is Great

Gardening is a favorite pastime for many, but why is it so popular among seniors? For one, it promotes a healthier lifestyle. The opportunity to grow fruits, vegetables, and herbs in your own home makes eating healthy much easier. But this perk isn’t close to being the only one! In this article, our caregivers in assisted living will highlight the benefits of seniors who garden and provide some beginner tips for those new to this hobby.

Benefits of gardening for seniors

We can categorize the advantages of gardening into three groups: physical, psychological, and social. Our senior health professionals in Collingswood break this down further:

Physical:

Maintaining a garden requires older adults to move their bodies! Even the smallest of gardens entail seniors using their physical strength to dig, water plants, and weed out any offenders. This type of continuous care and movement can help:

  • Enhance physical independence
  • Prevent osteoporosis
  • Decrease the risk of heart disease
  • Reduce the chance of Type II diabetes
  • Decrease the risk of some cancers

Psychological

Making time each day to get outside and appreciate the world around us can do wonders for our mental health and well-being. According to one study, looking out the window or at pictures of nature can reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and slow down heart rate. More psychological benefits of gardening include:

  • Reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other memory disorders
  • Prevent depression or anxiety
  • Encourage more relaxation
  • Promote creativity by choosing different plants and garden designs

Social

What’s great about gardening is that seniors can share this passion with someone else.  If they reside in assisted living, they can join their community gardening club to make friends who share their interests. Even older adults who do not live in a senior living community can find a way to share this pastime with a friend. Gardens are a great place to reminisce. Seniors can ask an old friend to come for a walk through their garden and have a chat about the “good old days.”

If you or a loved one is ready to get started, here are some tips compiled by our senior gardening club in Collingswood.

Beginner gardening tips for seniors

  1. “Location, location, location.” While this saying usually applies to the real estate arena, choosing the right spot for your garden is very important. Your garden location has to have a lot of natural sunlight, be close to a water source, and be easy to access no matter what. We highly recommend starting small with a container garden to keep in your home or senior living apartment.
  2. Be intentional with plant choice. You want to be sure to choose plants that will thrive in the conditions of your garden in particular. If you or a loved one has taken our advice to start a small container garden, you’re in luck because many plants can be grown and will last this way. It will also help to consider which plants will be the most useful. For example, herbs like basil and mint can easily be grown in a small container garden and are great to have on hand if you love to cook!
  3. Invest in quality soil, and don’t forget to water! Quality soil is key to a plant that keeps on giving! For the best results, invest in soil that is nutrient rich and well drained. It’s equally important to remember to water your plants regularly — that’s why we recommend having your garden in a place that is easy to access. If you’re unsure whether your garden needs watering, do the knuckle test. Push your knuckle down into the soil to check if it’s dry — dry means it’s time for water.

Senior Activities in Camden County NJ

At our independent lifestyle community in Collingswood, we encourage our seniors to branch out (pun intended) and explore all the activities we have to offer here. Whether it’s gardening, yoga, playing cards, or something completely different, our goal is for every resident to feel completely supported and confident enough to lead their lives at UMC at Collingswood.

For more information about fun senior activities in Camden County, New Jersey, please give us a call today or visit our website at: https://umcommunities.org/collingswood/

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