article courtesy of Claire Wentz
Senior gardening? As we get older, our health and mobility may change our activity level. We may no longer feel comfortable doing many of the things that we’ve enjoyed our entire lives. Fortunately, gardening is not something that we have to give up, and Fading Memories Podcast presents some senior-friendly ideas on how to keep your lawn and garden in top shape.
First, keep the benefits in mind.
With all healthy activities, one of the most important things you can do is know why they are so important and beneficial. According to Sunrise Senior Living, gardening comes with many perks, including extra physical activity and improved mental health.
Attractive – and adaptive – ideas.
There is no doubt that gardening is back-breaking work. However, there are ways to take the strain off your spine without giving up your spring flowers or summer bounty. This is especially important if you have disabilities that make it difficult to walk, bend, and kneel.
A few of these are to:
- Invest in a raised bed. A raised garden bed is typically 28” to 30” higher than ground level. You can plant pretty much anything you would in a typical garden in a raised bed, with the added benefit of adding more texture and visual interest to your landscape. HomeAdvisor notes that raised beds are easier to maintain and may result in even healthier plants. A raised bed next to a walkway can also help you continue to garden if you are in a wheelchair.
- Use containers. Container gardening is the process of growing individual or complementary plants in pots and other containers instead of in the ground. You can grow flowers, vegetables, and even some trees in a container. These may be kept in a wheelchair or walker-accessible location, such as your patio or back deck so that you do not have to navigate uneven terrain to enjoy your favorite hobby.
Love your lawn.
Your garden is not the only spot in your yard that you can continue to dote on in your senior years. Your grass and landscaping features can also bring you joy – and possibly increase your home’s value – for as long as you live in your home. Further, a healthy lawn helps regulate heat around your home, which can make it more comfortable while you’re digging, pruning, and planting. And depending on where you live, you’ll have access to an abundant variety of different plants, although Bob Villa cautions that you’ll need to stay with those suited to your USDA hardiness zone. Sticking with native varieties is also helpful since they will require less care. And just as important as all of this is that having a great outdoor space means the grandkids will have a safe and enjoyable space to play when they come for a weekend visit.
Lawn and garden safety.
No matter how young or young at heart you are, safety is your number one priority when working in the yard. Make sure that you have tools, such as a soaker hose and a garden cart, that remove some of the more tedious work from you. You may also need to decide if certain activities, like raking leaves and mowing the lawn, are the best use of your time and if these chores put you at risk of an injury. The CDC also recommends that everyone wear safety goggles and gloves when gardening. You’ll also need to pay close attention to how you feel in the heat since people aged 65 and older are at a higher risk of heat-related injuries.
In addition to safety planning for heat and potential injury, consider any large and possibly dead trees that pose a hazard to you and your home. A tree removal specialist can help you determine whether a tree needs pruning or whether it just needs to come down. To find reputable tree removal services, take the time to check out online reviews, and to see if anyone with high ratings is offering discounts. Note that if a tree must be removed, it could cost anywhere from $50 to $1,500 to cut it down.
You don’t have to give up doing what you love. With a few precautions and modifications to your gardening routine, you can continue to reap all of the rewards Mother Nature has to offer. From container gardening to sticking with plants native to your area, the above ideas can help get you ready for planting season, no matter what season of life you’re in.