Time and again, there are articles explaining why certain activities are beneficial for the lifestyle of a senior. They explain why certain choices can lead to improved health, mobility, and mood. the most obvious being regular exercise, a healthy diet, and good sleeping habits.
However, one beneficial pursuit that may not be at the top of the list is gardening. Studies are increasingly reporting that this activity boosts energy levels in seniors. Researchers now say that gardening is widely enjoyed hobby among older adults – second only to taking leisurely walks.
The benefits of gardening are quite varied. First, it is a home-based activity. People don’t have to go far; step out the door or around the corner and there is the garden. There is container gardening, which can keep the entire activity inside the house, on the balcony or the porch.
Beyond the relative convenience of gardening, the fact that it requires some planning is great for seniors. Researchers focusing on the benefits of gardening noticed that those seniors who garden consider themselves to be “very active,” as compared to those who don’t garden. It stands to reason that seniors who garden will extend those planning activities and the increased energy levels, into other areas of their lives.
It could be argued that one of the most important aspects of gardening for seniors is the sense of accomplishment. When a flower grows or a vegetable can be picked and eaten, it’s something that didn’t happen overnight. An older person tending his or her garden will have kept at it for days, weeks, and months until they have nurtured and grown the perfect flower or vegetable. Picking the food or looking down at the blossomed flower will bring a sense of joy and accomplishment, not to mention pride.
Some seniors may not be able to garden outside because they can’t bend over easily. Perhaps they can’t carry the heavy bags of soil they need. In this case, container gardening may be a better option. It’s a growing trend and brings gardening into the house. Many of the same things that are grown outside can be grown inside, whether it’s herbs, flowers, or vegetables.
It really doesn’t matter what is grown – it matters that gardening is a positive activity. It provides purpose, a reason to care, something to look forward to and talk about with others. And, at the very heart of gardening is the fact that it keeps the gardener in touch with Mother Earth, and this is always a very, very good thing.