Container Gardens Contain Healthful Benefits for Seniors
Gardening is consistently ranked one the most popular hobbies in the U.S., and no wonder! Gardening is great exercise, has been proven to relieve stress and improve healing, and rewards us with beautiful flowers, herbs, and vegetables.
Gardening is also especially popular in senior living communities, as new gardeners seek opportunities to learn and explore, and experienced gardeners use their skills to personalize their outdoor spaces.
While gardening can be difficult, sweaty work, there are ways for seniors to reap all of the benefits – physical, mental, and emotional – without all of the heavy lifting. Container gardens are an easily accessible choice and can be kept on the balcony or terrace of a senior living apartment. You might be surprised by how much you can grow in container gardens – everything from azaleas to zucchini!
Tips for Creating A Super Senior Garden
Planning a container garden can be a fun activity for families to do together, whether it’s researching which plants will do best in a particular spot, gathering supplies, or helping with the set up of containers, soil, and tables.
- Engage The SensesWhile younger and middle-aged adults tend to prefer gardens that are peaceful and still, older adults tend to look to gardens for stimulation. Choose plants that engage all the senses. Consider the bright colors and fragrance of flowers, herbs or vegetables that delight the palate, and a small fountain for soothing water sounds. (Water also attracts songbirds, but be sure that the water is continuously moving to avoid attracting mosquitoes, too.)
- Make It Accessible
Keep containers at the correct height for your loved one. Containers and tools should be kept at an easily accessible height that can be reached while seated in a regular chair or wheelchair.
- Choose The Right Tools
Some garden tools can be unwieldy for seniors with arthritis or other physical limitations. Tools modified specifically for those with arthritis can be found online at arthritissupplies.com, while ergonomically designed tools with large handles can be found on amazon.com, and at many other retailers.
- Water With Care
Eliminate the challenge of filling and carrying a large watering can by using a few small, empty soda bottles. These bottles can be filled and transported easily in a walker or wheelchair bag. Or, families can fill several during a visit and leave them closed within easy reach outside.
- Reap The Benefits!
Studies have shows that time spent in a garden reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, and encourages healing. Plus, gardening is one of the few hobbies where you literally reap the benefits, whether those are beautiful flowers, tasty herbs, or juicy tomatoes!
FountainView at College Road is a glatt kosher senior living community in Rockland County, NY. Most of our apartments feature balconies – a perfect fit for container gardens!