Senior Living and Gardening As You Age

For those with a passion for gardening, the thought of retiring from their favorite pastime is unthinkable. Sadly, the results of aging often cause the elderly to consider abandoning their favorite outdoor activity. If you have a friend who is considering hanging up their garden spade because of age-related problems, don’t let them. Gardening innovations make it possible to garden for an entire lifetime.

Stop Bending, Stooping, and Kneeling

Anyone who has ever tended a garden knows that there is ground to be broken, seedlings to plant, pests to chase away, and weeds to pull. This generally involves bending over, kneeling on the ground, or stooping over, all for the good of the garden.

Aging gardeners with knees that cannot kneel or with backs that cannot bend can still have a lovely and fruitful garden. By building raised beds or garden boxes on platforms or legs, even an aging green thumb can move about and care for the garden comfortably.

Platform gardens are perfect for those in wheelchairs. By creating wheelchair-friendly paths around the beds, flower and vegetables gardens are easily tended by wheel chair-bound horticulturists.

The Sensory Garden

For the gardener who enjoys being surrounded by the scents and softness of a flower garden, friends might consider planting a sensory garden. A carefully designed garden for the visually impaired will include smooth paths and a variety of plants chosen for texture and smell.

Soft-petaled roses, aromatic Russian Sage, and cool ivies are all excellent additions to such a garden. The sound of moving water is also a welcome addition to the garden. Be sure to add a comfortable place to sit and enjoy the fragrance and sounds so loved by gardeners.

The Hands-on Garden

For the gardener who can’t resist getting a bit dirty, help your sight-impaired friend plant and maintain a garden by incorporating some of these tips:

  • To assure proper spacing, knot a light weight cord, indicating proper planting distances. Lay it along the bed, allowing your friend to plant his or her own seeds or seedlings.
  • Maintain flat and cleared paths.
  • Keep gardening tools in an apron.
  • Help visually-impaired friends plant seedlings and starts at the proper depth by assigning a term such as “a thumb deep”.
  • Consider container gardening.
  • Cut out veggie shaped plant markers
  • Paint tools white to make them more visible against dark soil.
  • Include a flashlight in your gardener’s tool bag or apron. Extra light aids vision.

A Bird-lover’s Garden

Along with the satisfaction of providing a refuge for avian friends, the sounds of birds scratching the ground or flapping in the bird bath can provide a great deal of enjoyment.  A garden that attracts birds is also enjoyable to plant and maintain.

Gardening is a soul-satisfying hobby that can be enjoyed for many years. Help your aging gardener re-discover the joys of the garden.

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