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We often hear of seniors being encouraged to take up gardening, but how safe is it as an activity for the older generation? There’s no doubt that there are numerous benefits of gardening for people of all ages. But for older people, gardening helps maintain muscle strength, reduce depression and encourages a more positive outlook on life. Yet, there are also many hazards out in the garden, with around
Yet, there are also many hazards out in the garden, with around 41,000 Americans suffering injuries while gardening in 2014. So, it’s important to take care when exercising your green thumb. Certain health conditions associated with aging can also make some garden tasks more challenging. Arthritis might make it harder to grip the handle of a trowel or pair of pruners. Decreased flexibility can make bending and kneeling painful. If you or your senior loved one struggles with gardening, there are things you can do that will let you continue to enjoy your garden.
Warm up first
Don’t underestimate how physical gardening can get. It can be quite strenuous exercise, regardless of your age. Before you head out into the garden, make sure you take a few moments to stretch and warm up first. This is important to help you prevent any injuries. It’s also important to stretch joints and muscles regularly during gardening. Continuous strain on your back, knees, and neck, can cause pain when you move onto something else.
Get geared up
One of the great pleasures of gardening is the opportunity to get up-close and personal with nature. But you need to protect yourself while gardening too. To guard against your skin getting any cuts, wear gardening gloves, tops with long sleeves and hard-wearing pants. It’s also a good idea to wear some old sunglasses or goggles to protect your eyes from any stray branches. It’s important that you also wear a hat and always put on sunscreen too.
Gardening Safety Tips for Seniors
Stop accidents from happening
Before you get started, do a safety check first of the yard. Look for any loose steps, uneven ground, roots, or rocks that could cause someone to trip and fall. Also, make sure that tools and hoses aren’t left out where they could trip someone over. Dehydration is another way people can end up having an accident. So always drink plenty of non-alcoholic and decaffeinated drinks before and while you garden.
Raise your plants
It’s not comfortable to slouch over or crouch on your hands and feet, nor is this necessary for gardening either. Raised beds will bring the plants up closer to you and reduce the need to bend over as much. This reduces the strain on your body and means you can enjoy gardening for a much longer time.
Keep a phone close by
If you or your loved one gardens alone, it’s important that there is a cell phone nearby. With a phone easily accessible, then it’s possible to call for help quickly and easily should there be any garden accidents.
Follow safety steps and no limit to gardening pleasure
The benefits of gardening for seniors are huge. Studies show that low-impact exercise, like gardening, can considerably cut elders’ danger of injury and developing conditions like osteoporosis. Gardening helps seniors continue and even increase their strength and suppleness. But when done safely, gardening offers a wonderfully engaging, creative and peaceful activity and a therapeutic way to relieve stress.
This is a guest post by Sally Phillips.