Is It Safe for a Senior with Dementia to Garden?

Is It Safe for a Senior with Dementia to Garden?

Dear Donna, My mom was diagnosed with early-stage dementia two years ago. She’s managed to live independently until this year. After much debate, she moved in with my family and me. We are modifying our home and would also like to make some changes to the yard. Mom...
How to Keep a Senior Gardener Safe This Summer

How to Keep a Senior Gardener Safe This Summer

Dear Donna: My mom has always loved to garden, but she is now struggling with mobility issues. She also takes a few different medications that make her more susceptible to dehydration and heat. What can we do to help her keep enjoying her favorite activity safely? The...
Senior-friendly Tools for Michigan Gardeners

Senior-friendly Tools for Michigan Gardeners

Last summer we shared information on gardening for Michigan seniors. We know many older adults in the Great Lake state enjoy gardening as a hobby. It provides many benefits for older adults ranging from helping relieve the pain and symptoms associated with arthritis to improving core strength and balance. As we head in to spring and back to the garden, we wanted to share a few tools we have found that can help seniors stay safe while enjoying a favorite pastime.

Tools for the Older Michigan Gardener in the Family

  • Garden Rocker Kneeler Bench: This tool makes kneeling to plant or prune in the garden easier on aging joints. You can rest your knees on the bench and use the hand rails on each side to assist you in getting safely back on your feet.
  • Garden Kneeler and Tool Pouch: A combination of seat and kneeler, this tool also has a pouch you can add to store tools in. That eliminates having to get up and down to search for tools while you are gardening.
  • Coiled Garden Hose: One challenge older adults face in gardening is dragging heavy hoses around the yard. Coiled hoses make watering the garden easier. They are lighter in weight and made to stretch further.
  • Ergo-Friendly Garden Tools: Friskars has a line of ergonomic garden tools that are senior-friendly. From weeding tools to pruners, they are easier on older hands.
  • Garden Scoot: This heavy-duty garden scoot lets you work in your yard from a seated position. It also comes with pneumatic tires and a swivel seat to make it even easier to navigate through the yard.
  • No Bend Weed Puller: Weeding is another task that can be more difficult for older adults. This no bending required tool allows you to weed the yard from a standing position making it easier and safer for older gardeners.
  • Easi-Grip Tools: Another line of senior-friendly tools, the easi-grips allow hands to remain in a more natural position while gardening. That makes it easier for arthritic hands to maintain their grip.

We hope these tools help you and your senior loved ones safely enjoy another spring and summer in your Michigan garden!

 

The Village of Appledorn West in Holland is now open! If you or a senior loved one would like to tour our independent living apartments or learn more about our assisted living community that will be opening this spring, please stop by or call us at (616) 846-4700

 

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Tools to Support Michigan’s Senior Gardeners

Tools to Support Michigan’s Senior Gardeners

If gardening has been a pastime for many years, you’ve likely reaped the health benefits it offers. Improvement in the pain of arthritis, reduced stress, and increased flexibility are just a few. Unfortunately, gardening can become a little more challenging as the years go by. Aging sometimes puts older adults at greater risk for a fall or for a heat-related illness. If you or a Michigan senior you love enjoys gardening but is struggling to do the things they used to, these tips and tools may be of help.

Here are a few tips to make it easier to keep your garden growing without jeopardizing your health:

  1. The warm up. Gardening is hard work. Bending, lifting, and pulling weeds is a real physical work out. Be sure you take time to warm up your muscles and joints before heading out in to the garden.
  2. Raised flower beds. Safely getting up and down from the ground to plant flowers and pull weeds is often a struggle for older gardeners. One solution can be to have raised beds built in the yard. Height can be adapted to what feels easiest for you or the senior gardener you love.
  3. Time out chairs. Strategically placing benches, garden stools and chairs throughout the yard can allow you to take frequent, quick rests. That is important in avoiding both a heat illness and a fall.
  4. Use a wagon. Wheel barrows are a lot of work when you get older. They often require gardeners to lift the load they are trying to transport to get the wheels rolling. Instead of a wheel barrow, consider buying a wagon with large wheels. It puts less stress on your neck and back.
  5. Adapted garden tools. The Arthritis Foundation has a list of Handy Garden Tools that earn high marks for their ease-of-use. The list includes long-handled garden tools, water caddies and more.
  6. Paint the handles. If you live with a vision impairment, one tip that can make gardening easier is to paint the handles of all of your garden tools a neon or vivid color. It will make it easier to find where you laid them in the grass.

Finally, remember to use good judgment to stay safe in the summer heat. That includes gardening in the early morning or evening hours and avoiding the mid-day sun. Also be sure to wear sunscreen and a hat, and keep a bottle of water with you.

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