Last Updated on December 27, 2020 by Paul Guzman
3 Tips To Improve Garden Safety For Seniors. When it comes to hobbies that help you age well, gardening has repeatedly ruled the lists. The benefits of gardening are well-documented, thanks to a host of studies.
According to past research, taking up gardening in your later years can help reduce stress, aid in mental and physical health elevation, and even help you live to 100, according to the BBC.
The National Gardening Survey showed that 35 percent of older households are active gardeners. The number has continued to climb as more seniors discover an affinity for designing their perfect garden. However, as with any hobby and physical activity, ensuring the safety of senior gardeners is something to think about.
Is Gardening Beneficial to Seniors?
While gardening can be restorative and beneficial to seniors, it also comes with its demands and challenges. The bending, squatting and physical elements can sometimes prove to be too much for an older person – or present a safety risk.
Fortunately, a few small tweaks can help to accommodate the specific needs of seniors while allowing them to enjoy gardening well into their later years.
Consider Home And Garden Adaptions To Help With Mobility
One of the main concerns for seniors who love to garden is their declining mobility and physical vulnerability. Slippery soil and constant physical movement can increase the risk of falls for seniors. Making a few senior-friendly adaptations to the home’s exterior and the garden itself can help to reduce those chances. Firstly, get the right gear, including thorn-resistant or thermal gloves for winter gardening.
During the summer, you can avoid overheating with heat protectant gloves that are similar to the ones you would wear to protect yourself from the hot barbecue surface when grilling. You may also want to swap your outdoor steps to a wider path lined with gravel or other high grip material.
This will also help with barbecue safety in the summer months, as a wide area around the grill is advised. If you have exterior stairs leading into your garden, it may be wise to install a ramp – particularly if you have poor balance.
Another adaptation you can make is the installation of raised beds in your garden. These can reduce the physical demands of bending or stretching when gardening. Alternatively, if you live with any physical disability, it allows you to still enjoy gardening without hindrances.
To make a raised bed, remember that the beds must be strong enough to bear the weight of the soil. They can be made using any material you like, including sawn timber or pre-used containers. Keep in mind that you do not want the raised beds to be too high, as structures over 2 feet tall may also limit your reach.
Opt For A Vertical Garden Instead
Another way to make gardening easier and safer for seniors is to utilize a vertical garden. If you find yourself struggling with the demands of crouching down or without much horizontal gardening space, a vertical garden can be the perfect answer.
To start a vertical garden, start with choosing a wall and building a frame – which you could outsource to a gardener or a contractor. Some plants that are great for growing in vertical gardens include bellflowers, sedums, and fuchsias. However, your selection will depend on the location of your vertical garden and whether it is in the shade or exposed to full sunshine.
Get An Irrigation System Installed
Taking care of your garden is one of the most taxing parts of gardening, including watering your plants every day. Some gardens and plants require a lot of maintenance and water, which may require that seniors constantly handle heavy water cans or hoses.
In addition to choosing low maintenance plants and gardening designs, consider getting a garden irrigation system installed. An automatic irrigation system reduces the upkeep and physical demands for elderly gardeners.
They can also be a great addition if you are trying to conserve water since some of them reduce water wastage by up to 80 percent compared to using a watering hose. There are several options to choose from too, including micro jet and spray systems or drip irrigation systems. If you want to take it a step further, opt for a rainwater irrigation system.
Gardening is a great hobby for people of all ages. For senior gardeners, it can prove to be a physically and mentally uplifting past time – one that they can continue to do well into their later years with the right safety considerations.