Just because you're getting older doesn't mean that you can't have some fun in the sun and the dirt like you did back in the good 'ol days. Gardening is an excellent hobby to have as a senior, as it can help you enjoy the benefits of the sun, relieve some stress and get some exercise. Gardening is a hobby that seniors can take up with a group at an assisted living facility. In fact, senior living facilities often encourage anything that keeps your body moving and your mind stimulated. Here are a few tips to you, as a senior citizen, get the most out of gardening regardless of where it is done at:
1. Raise Your Beds.
Whether you are planting parsley, potatoes or flowers, make use of raised garden beds. This ensures that you don't have to wear down your back from constantly bending over. Elevated planter boxes can be purchased from a local hardware or gardening store or you could have a contractor build one for you. This will have to be approved by the senior living facility before you can build a raised bed or have one built on the facility's property. If building up the beds is too strenuous a task, talk with the staff about having a day where family and friends can come help.
2. Protect Your Knees.
Digging in the dirt is part of the gardening process. More than likely, while you're digging, you'll need to be down on your knees. If you're on your knees for an extended period of time, they'll become sore and you may find it difficult to get up. To help protect your knees from the strain of the hard ground, purchase an inexpensive pair of kneepads to wear while digging. If you aren't keen on kneepads, consider a garden kneeler (some of which can even turn into a seat as well).
3. Choose the Right Tools.
When you are looking at the tools to purchase for your gardening hobby, you need to consider long-handled tools. You should also look at curved tools. Ergonomic tools like these can be particularly helpful for seniors who are suffering from arthritis. This is because these tools work to reduce the hand, wrist, and back strain while making your gardening chores much easier to do. If you're at a senior living facility, you may want to speak to the activity director, nurse, or someone else who can help you choose the tools that will benefit your individual situation the most.
4. Grab Yourself a Stool.
You will spend a lot of time out in the garden cultivating your crops when they're ready. Rather than having to sit on your knees or stand up and put strain on your back, consider having a stool to take out into the garden with you. This will help protect your body from unnecessary stress while also ensuring you don't tire too easily.
5. Grow Vertically.
While raised beds can help reduce the stress on your back while gardening, you may also want to consider planting some flowers and vegetables that grow on a vine. Some of the best vegetables that will grow vertically include tomatoes, pole beans, and cucumbers. Like building raised beds, you may need to speak to the administrator or someone in charge at the facility before moving forward with this, as you may need to purchase some lattice to install on the property.
From planting fresh vegetables to beautiful flowers, gardening is great hobby if you have a green thumb (or would like to give it a try). If gardening is your favorite hobby or sounds interesting to you, you will be happy to know that you will be able to enjoy it no matter where you are – at home, at an assisted living facility or in a senior retirement community.