Health Benefits of Gardening for Seniors

Elderly couple holding flowers in a garden

Fresh air, sunshine, a good workout, improved mental health, and much more—there isn't much you can't get from a nice morning or afternoon in the garden. Even better, gardening can be enjoyed well into your golden years, even if you don't have a strong green thumb.

How Gardening Benefits Older Adults

Anyone can benefit from gardening, although seniors especially can reap extra benefits from this activity. Health benefits of gardening for seniors include:

Socialization and spending time with others, if part of a community gardening group; notably, socialization may help reduce the risk of dementia and other conditions

Top 5 Gardening Tips for Older People

Sometimes you or other caregivers may need to help your older loved one adjust how they garden in order to make the activity both more enjoyable and more safe. The top gardening tips for older gardeners include the following:

  1. Use container gardening, such as gardening with potted plants, to grow plants year round; a windowsill is all that's needed.
  2. Use vertical gardens, like raised garden beds or trellises, for older adults with limited mobility and dexterity, as it limits how much they have to bend over and rest on their knees.
  3. Make sure your loved one has access to all necessary gardening tools, including kneelers, to reduce the strain on their bodies.
  4. Choose a low-maintenance plant that is easy to care for, like snake plants (Dracaena trifasciata) and coneflowers (Echinacea).
  5. Never forget the sunscreen for outdoor gardening activities to reduce the risk of sunburns and developing melanoma.

Horticulture Therapy at St. Andrew's

At St. Andrew's, we know just how much being outdoors and spending time with greenery can improve quality of life. That is why many of our retirement communities have dedicated community garden spaces for our senior living residents to enjoy.

Contact us to learn more about how we incorporate horticulture therapy, or gardening therapy, at communities in the St. Andrew's network.

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