March 22, 2021
The cool dampness of fresh soil. The warmth of the sun. The happy trills of songbirds. Gardening has the capacity to engage every one of our senses, and offers an abundance of positive benefits to older adults. No matter what the ability level or any space restrictions, there is always a way to help seniors experience the joys of planting indoors or outdoors, watching new growth appear, and harvesting
Gain interest (or renew interest) in the wonderful world of gardening activities for seniors, and discover:
- A brighter outlook on life. Research has discovered that compared to other hobbies, gardening is typically the winner in improving mood and fighting stress levels. Participants in the research study worked on a stress-inducing task, and were then directed to either spend thirty minutes gardening outside or reading inside. Blood tests clearly showed a reduced level of cortisol – a stress hormone – in the gardening test group.
- Increased flexibility, strength, and stamina. Believe it or not, gardening can provide a cardio workout in some cases, but even sitting in place while carrying out gardening tasks will help strengthen and build muscles. The basic acts of bending, twisting, reaching, and pulling can also increase flexibility and stamina.
- Lowered dementia risk. A fascinating and extensive study of nearly 3,000 participants has found that dementia risk is reduced by as much as 36 percent in adults over age 60 who participated in gardening and similar physical activities.
- The opportunity to make friends. Community gardens bring neighbors together for a common purpose, offering opportunities to establish friendships. The American Community Gardening Association offers its members the chance to find a community garden in their area – or, to start a new one.
An indoor garden is wonderful for seniors who cannot get outside or if the weather is not cooperating. Decorate small clay pots with markers or paint, and fill with potting soil and a variety of herb seeds. Or create a terrarium with a glass bowl, small shells/stones/etc., potting soil and a few small succulents.
Need some additional indoor gardening activity ideas? Find ten easy ideas here, and get in touch with Continuum for a caregiver to help! Our caregivers are always here to help seniors live life to the fullest through enjoyable activities such as gardening, along with:
- Reminiscing and conversations
- Mind-stimulating games and puzzles
- Pleasurable outings
- Favorite (or new) hobbies: crocheting, knitting, mastering a musical instrument or language – the ideas are endless!