This is the time of year when “green thumbs” are in their glory — weeding, tilling, planting, watering and tending their gardens. Many senior living residents are doing the same, as a number of independent living campuses and assisted living communities provide space for private or shared gardens.
Gardening is a healthy hobby, particularly for older adults, as this aptly titled PsychCentral.com article implies: Seniors Who Dig Gardening Report Better Quality of Life.
Citing research conducted by Texas A&M and Texas State Universities, the article suggests that, given older adults’ heightened risk for disease (based on lifestyle choices, poor diet or lack of exercise), “a combination of moderate physical activity and increased consumption of fruit and vegetables has been reported to dramatically reduce an adult’s risk for many chronic diseases.” Besides walking, gardening has been reported as “the second most common leisure activity” among the 65 and up crowd.
If the senior living community where your loved one resides does not have sanctioned gardening space for residents, ask a staff member about the possibilities. Most complexes have sufficient open green space to spare. Window boxes or mini herb gardens may be a viable solution too, offering a low maintenance option that brightens the apartment from the inside out and gives the senior a daily task that brings satisfaction and joy.