At a time when most elderly adults depend on home care aides or family caregivers for the smallest tasks like preparing meals, taking a bath, or getting dressed, they often lose their mobility and cause other repercussions, physically and emotionally.
That’s why it’s vital for seniors to continue engaging in activities that they will enjoy. Containing gardening is a wonderful option for elderly adults looking for one, as it offers lots of benefits apart from the enjoyment it bestows. What is great is that it’s suited for all abilities, whether he or she’s a garden expert and never even gardened before.
So, if you’re interested in why they should start their own container garden, here are the benefits of container gardening for seniors.
1. Helps improve physical well-being
Container gardening aids in improving the physical condition of elderly adults. Unlike traditional gardening which takes place on the ground, container gardening, as its name implies, makes use of containers.
It’s less physically demanding but still requires some work to do like adding soil, pruning the foliage, and watering the plants. All these activities serve as forms of exercise that help improve seniors’ muscle strength, flexibility, hand-eye coordination, and overall motor skills. Thus, also enhancing the quality of life and longevity.
As seniors all do the work in the morning and get exposed to sunshine, their body absorbs good amounts of vitamin D, which improves bone strength and lessens the risk of stroke, heart disease, and cancer.
2. Boosts brain health
It’s easy for elderly adults to get overwhelmed by the things and situations happening around them. Fortunately, container gardening easily provides a refuge that instills peace, reduces stress, and prevents anxiety. It also helps relaxes the body and improves mood, which all in all has been proven to boost brain health.
In fact, horticulture therapy continues to reap positive results as it’s now being an additional form of treatment for depression and other mental illnesses. Some studies even show that spending time with plants each day helps reduce the risk of dementia, thanks to the sensory stimulation and enjoyment that gardening activities provide.
3. Provides satisfaction and fulfillment
Seniors, who for most of their lives have taken care of their family, have their roles reversed by being the ones now being taken care of. Thus, some of them feel like they’re losing their sense of purpose. Container gardening mitigates that as nurturing plants and maintaining a garden resembles taking care of a human, providing the same satisfaction and fulfillment to elderly adults. Moreover, it boosts self-worth and confidence, seeing that their plants healthily and beautifully grow. So, if your aging loved ones are already into container gardening, make sure to compliment them once in a while to further make them feel better and happy.
4. Harvest fresh, organic produce
One of the biggest perks of growing a container garden is getting fresh, nutrient-rich crops within the palm of your hands. Seniors who do container gardening have homegrown vegetables, fruits, and herbs year-round or fresh flowers when in season.
Aging people can grow nearly any healthy vegetable from tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, beans, peppers, eggplant, radish, cucumber, and spinach or herbs like parsley, oregano, basil, rosemary, and thyme.
Growing your own vegetables also promotes vegetable consumption. Studies show that those with vegetable gardens eat about 40% more vegetables and fruits, which means seniors are most likely to hit their daily recommended servings, making them stay healthy longer.
Plus, seniors can also assure that what they’re eating is healthy as they are in full control of what soil, fertilizer, and natural pesticides to use, and make their plants free from harmful synthetic chemicals.
5. No space constraints
Given its versatility, seniors, even those living in apartments or townhouses, can do container gardening. There’s no need for a large backyard or huge outdoor space. Elderly adults can plant in pots and place them on their balconies, patio, windowsill, or in a room with adequate sunlight. They can even move the containers at different times of the day to meet the right conditions.
6. Nature is calming
Seeing a healthy flower growing in a garden is enough to provide any senior calming thoughts. It provides the brain the chance to unwind and leave the stress behind, and just focus on the beauty at hand. In addition, the oxygen produced by all the container plants also provides a calming effect. Breathing fresh air increases oxygen levels in the brain, increasing serotonin levels and improving mood.
7. Promotes socialization and fosters collaboration
Seniors may also opt to join community container gardens. It involves gardening with other elderly adults while reaping all the same health and wellness benefits that the activity offers. By participating in a community garden in a neighborhood, aging people can meet and mingle, providing great opportunities for socialization and reducing loneliness. Moreover, it fosters collaboration as they can share their knowledge and exchange ideas on how to grow their container plants.
How to Get Started: Container Gardening For Seniors
With all the listed benefits, it’s enticing to invite any senior to try container gardening. However, the task can be intimidating, especially if you don’t know where to begin. With that, we’ve collated some important reminders when planning your aging loved ones’ container garden.
- Maximize the space available. Don’t mind if you don’t have enough outdoor space. Containers are very versatile and portable. Your elderly loved ones can always find a spot with sufficient light to place their pots. Alternatively, they can also go for vertical gardens, hanging baskets, or window boxes. Just make sure that they’re easy to reach and won’t require too much bending or climbing.
- Assess your elderly adults’ needs and capabilities. Some are blessed and skilled in taking care of plants, while others are not. If they fall in the former, you can opt for high-maintenance veggies and herbs to bring them some challenge. If they are under the latter, it’s best to get low-maintenance plants like aloe, geraniums, pothos, or succulents.
- Aim for variety. Having an array of plants can make their container garden appear bigger and look more beautiful. You can add flowers in addition to leafy greens and herbs to bring color.
- Make them part of the decision. Pick plants together or have them personally select a few plants. Giving them the power to decide increases the likelihood of them looking after and nurturing the plants.
- Be creative. Add gorgeous vases, stylish containers, and chic plant markers to make the experience more fun and enjoyable.
Indeed, container gardening provides so many incredible benefits to seniors. If your loved one hasn’t discovered this low-impact yet rewarding activity yet, encourage them to do so, and see them live a happier and healthier life.