Although we may not be too keen about the rainy and damp April weather, it is important to keep in mind how thankful our gardens are for their chance to soak it all up before flourishing into bloom. With gardening season approaching, it is important to consider the benefits of gardening for seniors.
Right off the bat, gardening is a great activity for seniors as it gets them outside and into the fresh air. Some will think that gardening requires a plot of land, which comes with great work and effort, but in reality, it can be as much or as little as you want. Planter boxes, potted plants and more offer options for people not looking to make as much of a physical investment in their garden. But no matter what you do, there are great health benefits to gardening:
- Reduces Stress – Gardening can reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety. It can increase a sense of fulfillment in times of feeling helpless.
- Strengthen Bones – When skin is exposed to sun, the body is prompted to produce vitamin D; this helps the body to absorb calcium, a mineral essential for bone building. The exposure to sunlight can also help to counteract bone decalcification, but don’t forget to wear your sunscreen and a hat.
- Helps you stay active – As we age, staying active replaces the concept of exercise. In gardening there are various motions that keep your body moving. Movements such as digging, pruning, pulling and lifting work muscles, and in turn increase strength, stamina, and flexibility.
- Experience Success – Gardening can be a very rewarding hobby, as the hard work eventually amounts to the growth of something new. Seniors witnessing the fruits of their labour will lead to a feeling of accomplishment, ultimately building confidence.
- Keep in touch with the Community – Visiting and contributing to a community garden will reap the above benefits with the added bonus of a chance to socialize with others who share similar interests. You can also join your local horticultural society or connect with other green thumbs online.
- Share it with your family – Gardens can be a great way to connect with your children and grandchildren as you teach, learn from one other and share the fruits of your labour.
Additionally, research has shown that gardening has several mental and physical benefits to those with Alzheimer’s as well. This is due to the fact that gardening is an activity that engages all the senses. Research shows that gardening therapy could even help people with Alzheimer’s recall pleasant long-term memories.
Carefor recognizes what gardens can mean to people and how they require consistent care and compassion. As an organization that supports seniors and people living with disabilities, and in turn their caregivers, we want to create a place in Ottawa that celebrates the importance of caregiving. This is why this spring we will be unveiling the Carefor Caregivers’ Garden in Strathcona park. This garden will be a testament to caring for those we love and the notion that although caregiving can be difficult at times, it brings joy, and comfort to our loved ones - much like the blooms of a garden after all the hard work of tending to it. We encourage you to create your own garden and use it as a tool to enrich the lives of your loved ones and become a place where love can continually grow.
Learn more about the Carefor Caregivers’ Garden at caregiversgarden.ca