Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Help Your Senior Enjoy Gardening Safely This Spring

Gardening is a terrific way for your senior to relax and get some exercise. If your elderly parent has a green thumb, they’re one of more than 78 million people who enjoy the pastime, according to the National Gardening Association. According to those who work in senior care, activities such as gardening are soothing, yet they also help an elderly individual to feel productive and inspired. But before you get out and get planting with your loved one, make sure to use these tips to protect their physical well-being as they go:

  • Invest in the right tools: If the gardening tools are too short, your senior will have to hunch over and may suffer a back injury as a result. Make sure all items used in the garden are the proper length. Long-handled or curved-handled tools are also easier for senior hands to use. 
  • Drink plenty of water: Since gardening is a pastime enjoyed during the warmer months, it’s important to be aware of dehydration risks. Encourage your elderly parent to drink plenty of water as they get to work. Also advise them to avoid being out between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., as these are the hottest parts of the day. 
  • Wear lightweight clothing: Shade the body from direct sunlight by wearing a light long-sleeved shirt, linen pants, a big hat, eye protection, and gardening gloves. Remind your elderly loved one to regularly apply sunscreen, particularly if they are sweating. 
  • Bring out a stool or chair: Gardening requires a lot of hunching over and stooping, which can take a toll on an older person’s back after a few hours. To prevent injury, bring out a stool, chair, or bench. This allows your loved one to get to work, without suffering the consequences the next day.
  • Paint tools a bright color: To make it easy to quickly spot gardening tools, paint handles a bright color. This prevents frustration about lost tools and allows your senior to avoid tripping on them, as the brown handles blend in with the dirt. 

Elder care professionals encourage seniors and their families to spend time developing a garden. Regardless of how big or small, the experience is a positive and exciting way to spend time together while enjoying fresh air and sunshine. 

1 comment:

  1. This is a wonderful article, it's very useful. My grandpa loves to garden, but as he's gotten older it has been harder for him to do it as much as he'd want. I think that these tips would help him a lot as well as having someone stay outside with him while he gardens. I'm happy there's a solution to have him still be able to do what he loves and get some fresh air as well.