Let’s face it: we could all use a little more outdoor time. Staying active is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, but can be challenging for seniors. At VMT Home Health Agency our in-home caregivers are always looking for ways to help seniors in Washington DC live healthier and more active lives. Gardening is one of our favorite outdoor activities. Let’s look at why and how it can help seniors stay active.
Gardening Is a Great Low-Impact Exercise
From digging to plant bulbs to pruning shrubs and gathering vegetables, gardening is full of low-impact exercises. Daily gardening can help seniors improve their flexibility and mobility while increasing their strength and stamina. Regular exercise can also help improve bone health, which is important since seniors are at higher risk of osteoporosis. Regular exercise also helps improve our overall health.
A good diet with low-fat dairy and fish like salmon helps to ensure your senior receives Vitamin D, but they need the sun to put that nutrient to good use in their bodies. Gardening helps them get needed sun exposure while enjoying all of the other benefits that gardening has to offer.
Many seniors love to raise their own vegetables in home gardens. Tomatoes, beans, and many leafy greens are easy to cultivate. Seniors can eat them fresh in dishes and salads or can them for the fall and winter months.
Gardening Feels Good
Spending time in the garden is a great way to relax and relieve stress. The calm presence of plants coupled with the productive feeling of pruning and tending to vegetables and flowers can help soothe your senior if they feel depressed or anxious.
Gardening Can Be a Social Activity
If your senior loved one is looking for an activity to do with others, gardening may be just what they need. They can garden with a friend, neighbor, or family member. They can also join a local gardening club. Community gardens are a way for seniors to enjoy the benefits of gardening while giving back to the community as well.
Staying Safe in the Garden
Safety is always a priority when it comes to seniors. Bending, kneeling, and squatting can present unique challenges as we get older. They can be especially difficult for seniors who live with limited mobility. Heat is also a concern for seniors participating in outdoor activities. Some ways your senior can stay safe in the garden include,
- Using raised beds or containers if they are unable to kneel
- Using long-handled tools to help them reach without bending
- Having a comfortable stool to sit on while gardening close to the ground
- Using walking and standing supports to avoid falling
- In the spring and summer, wearing cool, loose-fitting clothing
- Using 30-50 SPF sunscreen
- Wearing a wide-brimmed hat
- Keeping bottled water on hand to stay hydrated
Are You Looking for in-home care in Washington DC?
If you’re looking for someone to help with in-home care, contact us. We’ll be happy to review our services with you and help match your loved one to one of our expert caregivers.