Many senior citizens may find themselves facing a life of isolation, inactivity, and even depression. During this stage of life, it’s crucial to find an activity that can be therapeutic, offers mental stimulation, and provides a sense of fulfillment. Gardening for seniors is one such activity that can prove to be very valuable in remedying the struggles seniors face.
Spending Time in a Community Garden
Gardening is a great activity for seniors to engage with nature and their surrounding environment. There are numerous health benefits that result from gardening. In more ways than one, gardening can serve as a great source of therapy, physical activity, stress reduction, mental stimulation, and even productivity.
1) Informal Therapy
Gardening can be a form of therapy. Offering seniors a chance to work with their hands and spend time in nature provides a way to escape from the anxieties and fears that come with age. Gardening allows them to pour their energy into a positive outlet and feel a sense of pride, especially when that hard work can blossom into something beautiful.
2) Manageable Physical Activity
One of the main struggles seniors face is a lack of physical activity. Gardening provides an accessible way for seniors to maintain physical exertion, stimulate sensory awareness, and spend time outside. Plus, gardening requires using a variety of gardening tools that engage different muscles that might be inactive throughout the day.
Pro Tip: Spending time outside for just 10-15 minutes can help to boost a person’s serotonin levels, a chemical in the brain that contributes to a sense of wellbeing and happiness.
3) Stress Reduction
Not having control in life is a large contributor to senior stress. For many older adults, a chemical called cortisol or ‘the stress hormone’, is released in the body. With higher levels of cortisol, there is an associated increase in blood pressure, heart rate, and anxiety. Dealing with limitations in mobility and maneuverability can generate great frustration, anger, and dissatisfaction in senior life.
To help combat this, gardening can be used as an excellent stress-reducing activity. By focusing on the beauty of nature, gardening can help distract seniors from the things that are causing stress.
4) Mental Stimulation
Gardening is a great source of mental stimulation. There is a significant amount of learning, planning, and patience involved to successfully grow vegetables, fruit trees, or flowers. Different plants require different needs, such as varying degrees of sunlight or water. By staying up to date on the latest gardening tips, older adults can keep their minds active and reduce the risk of dementia.
5) A Feeling of Productivity
Seniors may find themselves in a position where being productive is no longer an absolute necessity. However, gardening offers a set of goals to work towards and a sense of purpose. Seeing the progress through your hard work and motivation can provide an immense feeling of productivity and accomplishment.
Peace from Plants
When living in a senior living community, having a garden can offer seniors a number of mental and physical health benefits. By discovering whether a resident has a green thumb, you can help reduce the risks of high blood pressure and overall stress levels. This season, spend a little time outside with your friends by building a community or backyard garden for your seniors.
For more senior care ideas and activities, connect with our team on social media.