If you are an adult child of an older loved one who enjoys gardening, you probably know that the activity is one of the best ways to help them stay mentally, spiritually and physically fit. But health conditions such as arthritis, decreased flexibility and vision problems can all make gardening a little more challenging than it used to be. If your senior loved one is struggling, there are tools and tips you can share that will help them continue to safely enjoy one of their favorite pastimes.
Advice to Share with the Aging Gardener in Your Life
Here are a few senior gardening tips you can share with the senior gardener in your life:
1. Remind them to stretch and warm up their muscles and joints before they head out to work in the garden. This is especially true if your favorite gardener likes to use the early morning hours as their gardening time. Older adults need a little extra time for their muscles to wake up and get moving! So stretching can help prevent back or knee strain.
2. If it is becoming more difficult for them to get up and down from the ground, raised beds are a great solution. They can be built waist or hip high to allow your senior loved one to garden at a height that is most comfortable for them.
3. Make it easier for them to take rest breaks while gardening by placing benches and chairs throughout the garden. They are an inexpensive solution that can help lessen the likelihood of falls among older gardeners.
4. Encourage them to use a wagon with larger wheels instead of a wheel barrow to haul plants and tools around the yard. Wagons are easier to use because they don’t require lifting or pushing.
5. Long-handled garden tools are another safe alternative for older gardeners. You can easily find everything from garden trowels to hoes with extra support. Our friends at The Arthritis Foundation have a list of Handy Garden Tools that earned high marks from them for their ease-of-use.
6. If your senior gardener has a vision impairment, it might make it more difficult to locate tools they set down in the grass or flower beds. One tip that might help is to paint the handles a bright color like hot pink or orange that will easily stand out among the greens.
7. Finally, remind your senior loved one to be safe in the summer heat. They should avoid gardening during the middle of the day, always wear sunscreen and keep a water bottle with them while they are working. The summer heat is at its peak between noon and 4:30 p.m. Early mornings and evenings are the best times to be outdoors in the garden.