No matter how old you are, there’s few hobbies that are more relaxing and enjoyable than gardening. Even if you’ve never picked up a trowel in your life, you can pretty much start on a small outdoor project without much experience. It’s a pleasure for people of all ages and abilities. However, it’s probably best suited to those who have retired.
Largely this is because retirement is when people have the most time free to tend to their garden. It’s also a terrific way to get some fresh air and exercise, which is something that elderly people often struggle with.
It can be as simple or as complex, and as physically demanding as you like depending on your ambitions and capabilities. This makes it perfect for many people who struggle to keep up with other outdoor based hobbies due to a physical condition.
There’s also the added convenience of your garden being right outside your door, making it so easily accessible. On top of that, it’s also an ideal activity for somewhere to share with their family, or to participate in jointly with other people. It therefore has a potential social element, which we know is so important for a person’s mental health.
While there is a wealth of benefits to enjoy, gardening when elderly does come with its own distinct challenges, which shouldn’t be ignored. So, without further ado, here’s our tops six gardening tips for elderly people.
1. Start off small, and only add what you know is sustainable
Starting a garden can be really exciting but many people can end up with an outdoor space they can’t realistically maintain. This is why, when starting out, you shouldn’t go too big too soon because it’s hard to know what your limits are before you’ve begun. So, start with what you know you can handle. I you can do more, great: build a little at a time. Not only will this be a really satisfying way of creating a garden, but it will also make sure it remains manageable and fun.
2. Use raised Flower beds
One of the easiest ways to make sure that your garden remains sustainable is by utilising raised beds. This will also potentially greatly improve the amount of gardening you are able to do. This is because you can use top quality soil, ensuring the most successful growth. It will also make weeds easier to maintain, as there’s less space for their routes to twist into.
3. Pick easy to grow plants
One of the wonderful things about gardening is that quite often, some of the best things to grow are actually the easiest, including kitchen staples like onions, carrots and spinach. Research what plants are reasonably easy to grow within your climate and stick to them for a much easier-to-keep garden and one which yields the best results.
4. Use the best equipment you can afford
The tools you are using are going to make an enormous difference to how easy you find gardening, how much success you have and ultimately, how much fun and satisfaction you take from it. Therefore, you should buy the best quality equipment you can afford whenever possible, but also do research for quality brands at lower prices. This is because, even though you want your equipment to be as good as it can be, that’s still no reason to pay above what’s necessary.
5. Take care of yourself in the sun
The physical element of gardening is one of the reasons that it’s such an enjoyable hobby. However, because it can be so relaxing, we often forget that it can also be very hard work. And, because most of us like to garden when the sun provides us with the best possible conditions, we have another issue to contend with as well, and that’s heat.
Getting too hot can cause health issues at any age but especially in the elderly. Always make sure you’re keeping yourself properly hydrated, taking regular breaks, staying within your physical limits and making sure that you have summer appropriate clothes, so you’re not needlessly over exerting yourself. There are many more tips and advice to help you or a loved one through the heat this summer.
You can even pay attention to the weather and try to do your most difficult jobs when the sun isn’t at its peak to avoid the worst of it. In any case, listen to your body and if you’re getting overheated, don’t just carry on and hope it passes. Cool yourself down before it gets worse.
6. Invest in knee pads or a kneeler
If you ask someone who has spent their first session gardening how they feel, you’ll almost certainly hear a whole bunch of positives, as well as something along the lines of “but my knees do ache now”. That’s because when we’re gardening, we put a lot of strain on our knees from constantly bending down in order to tend to the plants. Raised beds can help with this but it’s also worth investing in a kneeler to help support your knees, or knee pads to give some protection between your knees and the ground.
At Melrose Care Home, we know just how important it is for elderly people to have an array of interesting and varied hobbies to enjoy. That’s why we make sure we offer a wide range of activities for our residents in order to ensure they are mentally and physically stimulated and pursuing the interests that they love. Gardening is just one wonderful example of the many activities elderly people at Melrose can enjoy. If you’d like to find out more about what we offer, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.