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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.