Millions of seniors have a green hobby: gardening. And, it’s good for them. According to researchers and health professionals, apart from keeping them active, flexing their green thumb also makes them healthy and productive. It reduces the risk of depression and other health conditions. It also keeps them social.
Larry Meigs, CEO of Visiting Angels, a living assistance service provider in the US, says he can’t stress the importance of gardening enough. Meigs says, “Staying active is vitally important to seniors. As a long-time member of the senior care community, I can’t stress how important it is for seniors to have mental, emotional, and physical outlets. Gardening provides all three.”
Seniors have all the reasons to garden, but, age can keep them from making the most of their green habit. Staying outdoors for a lengthy amount of time may lead to heat strokes, and the physical activity may cause arthritis symptoms to worsen.
Body Pains, Injuries, and Illnesses
Back and joint pains are common among seniors who regularly garden. Heavy equipment and long hours of bending over are causes of the symptoms. While they may not seem serious, gardening presents several health risks. The heat may lead to fatigue, dizziness, dehydration, and even a stroke. Pesticides and insect bites may cause infections.
Keeping Gardening Senior Friendly
Several senior care communities, including Visiting Angels, as well as the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention (CDC), share ideas on making gardening senior friendly. Meigs recommends that seniors do warmup and stretching exercises before the activity. This helps prevents aches and pains during gardening.
Keeping a water bottle handy is a must, as it lets seniors stay hydrated throughout the day. Because the heat can be a health hazard for them, it’s advisable to postpone the activity when the weather is too much to handle. If they keep at it, they must immediately stop at the first sign of fatigue, to prevent it from getting worse.
The CDC, on the other hand, suggests using light and easy-to-grasp tools to keep seniors from straining themselves. They also give emphasis on dressing for safety, recommending the use of safety goggles, thick-soled shoes, long pants, and gloves. According to the CDC, the ideal amount of time for seniors to spend on gardening is at least 2.5 hours a week. Gardening around half an hour a day is enough to reap the benefits of the activity without getting too exhausted.
With these ideas, seniors with a green thumb can enjoy their hobby without worrying about their safety. Not only will gardening be a healthy habit; it will also be a senior friendly one.