Gardening is a good way for seniors to keep fit while they grow nutritious food. It is great therapy as well for those age-related ailments.
A garden can be designed, modified or built to accommodate the physical limitations of the gardener. This includes:
- using raised, elevated or “stand-up” beds to make planting and harvesting easier;
- making beds narrow enough to make it easier to reach around the bed without straining;
- using trellises or vertical gardening.
- changing outdoor steps to wide, curving, gently sloping paths.
Also, don’t forget the importance of outdoor protective wear such as a wide-brimmed hat, gloves and appropriate shoes and clothing. Garden early in the morning or late in the day. Drink plenty of decaffeinated fluids to prevent dehydration.
Before beginning any garden activity, do what athletes do before a competition: warm up! Start by stretching, focusing on the legs and lower back. While gardening, don’t stay in one position for any length of time. Don’t spend two hours on your knees doing weeding or hoeing. Take frequent breaks every half hour. Gently stretch your legs and move your arms from side to side.
Avoid lifting large planters or bulky bags of garden soil or mulch. Have younger family members or friends move these objects for you. Never lift a heavy planter full of wet soil. Use kneeling pads when weeding, and invest in a light- weight garden cart for carrying tools, water cans, planters, etc
The chore of hauling water or handling heavy or bulky hoses is not only difficult for older gardeners, it can also be dangerous as well. Invest in light-weight fabric hoses instead of rubber. A hose caddie and reel will keep the hoses intact when not in use. Hoses left lying around are very easy to trip over. Choose a variety of easy- to-grip watering wands for those hard to reach places.
More ideas: Long handled rakes, hoes and soft grip handles on pruners and clippers. Garden bags that stand upright for collecting leaves, weeds, etc. And, also look for garden gloves with extra padding for palms and fingers.
We wish everyone a happy and successful gardening adventure this summer. All the best from Mystical Magical Herbs.
~Azul and Meadow Walker