Many people love gardening as a hobby. When they grow old and perhaps need to take up residence in a care home, if their health and mobility permit, such people should not have to give up this stimulating hobby. It is a healthy hobby that benefits both body and mind.
Areas of consideration
What needs to be kept in mind is that elders will not have the same mobility and stamina they had in their earlier years. So when providing opportunities for them to enjoy this hobby, a few special requirements should be in place as under:
- Only plants that grow and bloom easily should be selected.
- The flower beds should be slightly raised with space in between so the elders have easy access.
- Fencing should be provided around the garden to provide security for the elders.
- Pathways between the flower beds should be wide enough for those elders using wheelchairs and walkers.
- Stools should be provided at regular intervals so the elders can sit and rest if tiredness overtakes them.
Some elders may have physical limitations like arthritis. This would limit their capacity to handle many of the gardening tools as also their ability to stretch forward. To help such elders there are foam grips which can be fixed on different tools which will help to soften handles and help traction. To help with bending and reaching forward, extension poles and grabbers are available – which will assist the elders even if they have to sit.
Most elders in a care home will suffer from dimming vision. To help them while gardening, the handles on all the tools should be in a bright colour. Duct tapes available in many colours as also bike tapes can be used to wrap around the handles.
Similar to the game of golf, a garden caddy on wheels can prove extremely useful for elders who love to indulge in gardening. The caddy not only can be used to keep the tools and move the heavy objects, it also helps the elder to sit and rest when required.
Instead of heavy watering cans, if possible coiled hoses that can be attached to a kitchen faucet will prove helpful for elders.
What to grow
What is most beneficial for seniors to plant in a garden, are seeds. They prove cheaper than trying to grow food items, as also prove easy to sow. To help the elders, tools such as seed tape, seed that is mixed with soil and seed syringes can be provided.
Container gardening is also good for elders as it is an extremely accessible and low method. The containers should be fixed on stands or casters made of material that is lightweight and easy to move around.
A good care home Branston would normally have a garden so the elders can enjoy the outdoors during good weather. Such gardens also provide opportunities for the inmates to use their gardening skills. In some areas the local churches and other senior service centres come forward to help with setting up the garden so it becomes elder user-friendly. It may take a bit of planning and thought but will provide the elders with a way to enjoy productive and safe gardening.