Grandma and Gardening

Written By: Nathan Justice
Reviewed By: William Rivers
Published: February 24, 2021
Last updated: December 29, 2022

Growing older often means having to choose the kind of activities we participate in. From mobility issues to safety hazards, things just get harder for us. Be that as it may, that doesn’t mean we have to miss out on the simple, yet beneficial, joy of gardening. 

Enjoying the joys of gardening is one of those activities that gives us a therapeutic feel. Some people like it because they get to nurture something. Others, for the simplicity of it all. 

That said, let’s talk about what all this entails; what you stand to gain and what you have to remember. While it is perfectly safe, we still have to keep in mind that we’re talking about seniors. With all that to factor in, it’ll be helpful to remember some safety tips. 

Safety Tips

  1. Ensure that all items of clothing are appropriate

Gardening is a simple task that doesn’t really need special equipment. Still, that doesn’t mean we can wear anything we want. Make sure you’ve got the appropriate clothing for the task. 

From reinforced shoes to long-sleeved shirts, the kind of clothing you use will have an effect on your experience. Take some time to gather the right kind of apparel for your gardening habits. 

  1. Protect your skin

Remember those long-sleeved shirts? They’re used by professionals for a reason. Gardening, for the most part, will mean being exposed to the sun for extended periods of time. 

With that, you’ll have to compensate for that. After all, we’re pretty far from our prime. Small acts such as applying sunscreen before heading outdoors already drastically reduces the kind of risks you face.

  1. Know when to take a step back

Be it for pride or something else, a lot of seniors refuse to ask for help or back out of certain challenges. Let’s try to avoid being that individual. 

Why? Because there’s nothing wrong with knowing our own limits. If we know our day’s task will involve heavy lifting, take a step ahead by inviting a younger relative to help out. 

  1. Use manual tools instead of their powered alternatives

Taking off from our previous point, let’s not try to bite off more than we can chew. While power tools were designed to make gardening tasks easier, they aren’t necessarily the easiest to use. 

That being said, the manual options are often reliable and much easier to handle for seniors. Nothing wrong with that. Investing in a great pair of sheers will do wonders for your productivity. 

  1. Work at the right time

As seniors, one of the things you might hear often is the topic of getting enough sun. That should make sure you get your daily dose of Vitamin D.

In that regard, we would do well to keep in mind that there is still an optimal time for gardening. Do your tasks earlier in the day or later in the afternoon. The point is to avoid too much sun and heat. 

Gardening Benefits

  1. Accessible exercise

Moving about, squatting, and reaching for various branches trains our bodies much more than you might think. The daily movements necessary in gardening, in fact, provide a lot of much needed exercise. 

All that in an enjoyable and manageable pace. That’s one way of making sure we stay fit and spry despite our age.

  1. Stress reduction

The therapeutic nature of gardening has that great benefit of giving us room to think. This means having an outlet for any stressful situations in our lives. 

Stress is one thing that affects both the young and the old the same. At least this way you can invite the grandkids over for some bonding time over the weekend. 

  1. Muscle conditioning 

Like we said, the different movements involved with gardening help give us much needed workout. What we didn’t mention is how this can help condition the different muscle groups involved in the process.

What does this imply? Well, you can expect a much easier time going about other daily tasks outside of the garden. At least this way you are able to train both the mind and the body. 

  1. Strengthen the immune system

Additionally, the regular exposure to the outside environment trains our immune system as well. As seniors, we might think that what we’re left with is it. That is not the case at all. Despite our age, measures can still be taken to give us an added immunity boost. 

The best part is that it costs nothing at all. Maintenance medicine often puts some pressure on our wallets. This way, you can gain that benefit from your daily routine. 

  1. Reduce the risk of dementia

Dementia is one of the things a lot of seniors fear. It’s a debilitating disease that can lead to serious implications if left to progress on its own. 

With gardening, the variety and number of necessary tasks means that we train our mind to stay nimble. What this means is that gardening can have a significant impact on the mental wellness of senior citizens.  

Senior Gardening Tips

  1. Know what’s available

The fact that gardening is good for the wellbeing of seniors is nothing new. With that, numerous manufacturers have taken it upon themselves to develop products that cater to that audience. 

Don’t miss out on these gardening aids. From kneeling stools to specially designed tools, there is bound to be a product meant to help you in your gardening. Take a look around online before committing to anything. 

  1. Use colors to organize your tools

Our eyes may not be as sharp as they used to be but we can still work with what we got. By using colored tape or markers, we can organize all our tools without having to resort to complicated and expensive measures. 

  1. Have a chair handy

Take care of that back of yours. Squatting may be good for you but extended periods can cause muscle strains in your lower body. Avoid that by keeping a chair nearby wherever you end up working. 
The bottom line here is to be smart with your gardening habits. It’s a healthy habit but one that should be managed well. For more insights on senior health contact Senior Strong today!

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Nathan Justice manages community outreach programs and forums that help many senior citizens. He completed a counseling program at the University of Maryland’s Department of Psychology.
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