Looking to get more active and healthy? Instead of playing more cards, get involved in gardening for seniors! While you may associate gardening with an older generation, gardening has plenty of benefits that make it exciting and accessible to people of all ages. Whether you’re just getting started or you’ve always enjoyed tending to your garden, here are some ways that gardening can benefit seniors.
Plants Improve Your Mood
Feeling connected to nature has been shown to reduce anxiety, stress, and depression. Plants also help you feel more grounded — literally! The weight of a full planter can improve balance in people who are feeling unstable. As if that weren’t enough, bringing plants into your home may be one of the best forms of mood therapy money can buy! A recent study found that gardeners were significantly happier than non-gardeners. If you need a pick-me-up or want to relax, head outside and grab some dirty — but don’t forget your gloves!
Decrease Risk of Dementia
A recent study from scientists at Purdue University revealed that learning a new skill — in this case, gardening — can be an effective way to stave off dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers found that a group of seniors with a history of mild cognitive impairment who took up gardening as a hobby showed statistically significant improvement in mental cognition after one year. Because memory loss is often among the first signs of cognitive decline, these results are incredibly promising for aging baby boomers. And if you don’t have access to a garden, try indoor plant care: Experts say it helps stimulate your mind and keeps your hands busy.
Caring for Yourself
Caring for yourself is not just about taking your medications on time, eating right, exercising, and getting enough sleep. Caregiving also means being good to yourself. Sure, gardening is great exercise, but it’s also an excellent way to get away from life’s hustle and bustle for a few hours each week. It’s an opportunity to spend some much needed time alone. When you garden in your golden years, you can grow something beautiful in every sense of the word.
Nature Is Calming
We all have those days when we can’t deal with anything, and we need to get away from it all. This is where gardening can really come in handy. Connecting with nature and taking a break from our busy lives is not only good for our mental health, but it also lowers stress levels and helps us focus better. People who spend time in nature tend to feel more positive and less anxious than those who don’t. And that’s why many different programs teach loved ones how to garden — it isn’t only beneficial for their well-being, but it can also help them help others!
Herbs Spice Up Your Life
Herbs are an easy way to spice up your life. Every time you water your plants or work in your garden, you’re being exposed to natural sunlight and fresh air — two things that have been proven to improve mood and lower stress levels. As herbs grow in your garden, they serve as a great way to relax and relieve stress after a long day of work. Many people describe gardening as a meditative experience, especially when done outside with friends or family. All those valuable minerals, antioxidants, and other nutrients from fruits and vegetables also have been shown to help prevent certain types of cancer.
Are you ready to try your hand at gardening? Do you have any plants you’re interested in growing? Basil, mint and rosemary are among the easiest herb plants to grow! Let’s put on our gloves and get to work!