Maintaining a garden can result in a wealth of health benefits for seniors. Tending to the plants, pulling weeds, digging through the soil, and consuming the produce can boost the body and mind in ways you and your elderly loved one might not have realized before. The staff at Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of home care in Bridgewater, has put together a list of advantages your loved one can gain from this activity.
It Encourages Exercise
It may not seem as strenuous as other forms of exercise, but gardening involves bending over, shoveling, and walking, all of which can help strengthen your loved one’s muscles, heart, and bones. Additionally, many seniors who garden see increased flexibility and mobility over time.
It Reduces Stress and Anxiety
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 6.5 million people over the age of 65 experience depression. Gardening is a great way to boost your loved one’s mood and alleviate the symptoms of depression. A recent study by Wageningen University found 30 minutes of gardening a day reduced the stress hormone cortisol in study participants. Experts believe being outdoors and the sense of accomplishment gardening provides both contribute to this reduction in stress.
It Is Cost-Efficient
Many aging adults face financial concerns due to medical bills or a lack of retirement savings. Gardening can reduce food costs for seniors because growing vegetables and fruit at home costs less than buying it in the store. For optimal savings, encourage your loved one to start small. Ask friends and neighbors for seedlings to help your loved one get started and research plants that grow well in your area so his or her time and money isn’t wasted.
It Provides Opportunities for Socialization
If your loved one’s town or neighborhood has a community garden, getting a plot can give him or her an opportunity to socialize with others. Many seniors face feelings of isolation and loneliness as they age, but being part of a community garden is a great way to meet others and receive some gardening help and tips.
It Offers Healthy Dietary Options
Fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber your loved one needs to stay healthy. Growing produce at home may encourage your loved one to include these fresh items in his or her everyday diet and enhance his or her health.
Seniors in good health can use gardening to ward off certain health conditions, and this activity is also helpful for seniors with Alzheimer’s and dementia, as well as those receiving stroke and Parkinson’s care in Bridgewater. If your loved one could use some help in the garden or with other activities around the house, turn to Home Care Assistance. Our caregivers can assist with many important tasks, including meal prep, transportation, and even grocery shopping for other healthy foods to eat alongside those your loved one has grown. For more information on our senior care services, call one of our friendly Care Managers today at 908.450.9400 to schedule a complimentary in-home consultation.