7 Reasons Aging Adults Should Join Community Gardens

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Plant care can be therapeutic for a senior’s body, mind, and soul. Here are seven benefits your aging loved one can gain by joining a community garden. 

1. Pleasant Exercise

Aging joints often become stiff as a result of arthritis. Working in a community garden involves tilling, raking, digging, planting, and weeding, which can increase flexibility and boost circulation. Gardening can lower blood pressure and cholesterol, reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke.  Even seniors with physical limitations can tend plants in raised garden beds. The physical activity can increase balance and motor skills, reducing the risk of falls. Tending plants can also refine hand-eye coordination.  Gardening can be so enjoyable your loved one may engage in it for longer than other forms of exercise. A study reported by Gardening Matters found subjects spent considerably more time gardening than walking and biking. Overall, community gardening can be a calming and relaxing form of exercise. Engaging in fun outdoor activities like gardening is a great way for seniors to stay active and enhance their quality of life. Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional in-home care. Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life.

2. Quicker Healing

If your loved one is recovering from illness or disease, gardening can help him or her heal faster. The sun’s UV rays can spur vitamin D production, strengthening bones and increasing skin health.  A study published in Science found gazing at greenery reduces recovery time following surgery and infections. After surgery, people with views of trees needed less pain medication and had fewer complications than those whose windows faced brick walls. They also healed an average of one day earlier.  There’s a scientific reason for this phenomenon. Defusing stress can strengthen a senior’s immune system. Aging impairs immune responses, but proximity to nature builds stamina. Gardening Matters reports a 10 percent increase in local green space can reduce the effects of aging by five years. 

3. Socialization

By giving seniors a place to meet and mingle, community gardens can reduce loneliness. Gardens often host special events such as concerts and lectures. Neighbourhood and demonstration gardens attract people of all ages and cultures, providing opportunities to socialize. Belonging to a group gives seniors a sense of security. 

4. Emotional Wellness

Seniors working in a community garden are less likely to be depressed and experience sleeplessness. Just five minutes spent in nature can reduce anxiety and anger and replace it with a positive outlook. Tending fragile plants can also cultivate compassion and gentleness. 

5. Cognitive Stimulation

Seniors who gardened when they were younger may have fond memories of the hobby. Nostalgia can connect older adults who have dementia and short-term memory loss to their past. Awakened recall may stimulate impaired brain regions.  Focusing on gardening tasks can increase concentration. Seniors with honed skills can share their knowledge and expertise with novice gardeners.  The cognitive stimulation and emotional rewards gardening provides can be especially beneficial for aging adults with dementia. Aging in place can present a few challenges for seniors living with dementia. However, they can still live independently at home with the help of professional dementia care. Winnipeg families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide their elderly loved ones with mental and social stimulation, timely medication reminders, assistance with meal prep, and much more. Our caregivers are available around the clock to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life.

6. Nutrition

Growing produce can stimulate your loved one’s appetite, which may have waned with age. Low motivation to eat can result from dementia, depression, and poor-fitting dentures. Other causes of poor appetite are reduced activity and dulling of taste, smell, and sight. Community gardening offsets some of these effects. Physical activity raises metabolism. Pungent scents and bright colours can stimulate the desire for food, as can easy access to fresh produce. As a result, your loved one is less likely to be malnourished.  In addition, the quality of local produce is usually better than what’s available in commercial markets. Fresh fruits and vegetables can yield luscious taste and potent nutrition. Some gardens sponsor cooking classes, further increasing the incentive to eat.  7. Personal Fulfillment After seeing the fruits of their efforts, seniors can enjoy the sense of accomplishment from gardening. If your loved one has no previous gardening experience, he or she will have gained new skills, and the flourishing plants can be the reward for the effort.  Community gardening can give meaning to life for seniors who have lost their sense of purpose. Your loved one is responsible and accountable for the plot being tended. For seniors on limited incomes, saving money on food is motivation. Some gardens donate surplus produce to food pantries, which can give your loved one the satisfaction of working for a noble cause and helping others.  If your loved one needs help with gardening tasks or other beneficial activities, consider hiring a home caregiver. In Winnipeg, homecare agencies can be a great boon to seniors. With the help of the caregivers at Home Care Assistance, your aging loved one can lead a happier and healthier life. We offer a revolutionary program called the Balanced Care Method, which encourages seniors to eat nutritious foods, exercise and socialize regularly, and focus on other lifestyle factors that increase life expectancy. To create a customized in-home care plan for your loved one, call us at (204) 489-6000.

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