Helping Your Loved One To Carry On Gardening In Later Years
If you are caring for someone in their twilight years, you will know just how important hobbies and recreation are for them, and indeed for you as the caregiver. It’s not just the fact of getting out in the fresh air and having something to do – although this is, of course important. The CDC has carried out research and found that just two hours of gardening per week can have a profound effect on health issues that include blood pressure, depression, maintaining a healthy weight, osteoporosis, and many other conditions.
Clearly, there are plenty of reasons for your loved one to want to carry on gardening for as long as possible – even if they have reduced mobility or other physical or medical conditions that might mean they cannot do quite as much as they used to. How can we make it easier for them?
Choose your battles
There are some activities that are clearly going to be outside the scope of someone who is frail or has restricted mobility. Trimming hedges and cutting grass are prime examples. Outside assistance is going to be necessary with the labor-intensive tasks, and you might consider weighing up the benefits of doing away with the lawn entirely in favor of artificial grass.
Maintaining flower gardens and tending vegetable beds, however, are activities that anyone can enjoy. And if you invest in a few handy tools and accessories, there is nothing to stop your loved one from continuing to enjoy his or her hobby.
Vertical planting beds are ideal, as they negate the need to bend or crouch down. Alternatively, raised beds have a similar effect, and can easily be made from simple containers. Even better, you can put them on casters to make them easy to move around. Also, look out for lightweight gardening equipment such as shears and clippers, or ones with easy-grip handles. These are particularly useful for those with arthritis. At a push, you can adapt existing tools using plastic tubing, foam, and tape.
Stay safe, and enjoy the garden
Take care to keep walkways clear, and sweep them regularly to avoid slip hazards. Make sure there is plenty of shade for those hot summers days, and ensure any injuries or even minor scratches are treated promptly. Finally, provide plenty of seating, so that your loved one can take time to rest and enjoy the garden – it doesn’t all have to be work, work work!
Jess Walter is a freelance writer and mother. She loves the freedom that comes with freelance life and the additional time it means she gets to spend with her family and pets and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org