The benefits of gardening for seniors

The benefits of gardening for seniors

WE’VE all heard that gardening is good for the soul, creating a sense of general wellbeing.

Dr Hayley Christian of UWA gets down to the root of why gardening is particularly beneficial to seniors.

Top benefits of gardening for seniors

– Gardening is a moderate intensity activity that can be done daily. It is recommended older adults be active every day in as many ways as possible, including physical activities incorporating fitness, strength, balance and flexibility, which gardening provides

– The pastime is also an effective mental health intervention and can reduce depression and anxiety. It puts us in contact with nature; nature contact is associated with improved mental health and wellbeing. The Biophilia Hypothesis suggests all humans have an innate need to seek connections with nature

– It is also proven to help alleviate stress

– It provides an opportunity to be outdoors and helps the body generate important vitamin D (a deficiency common in older adults)

– Gardens provide a number of sensory benefits such as smelling, touching, observing, listening and remembering

Top gardening activities

– Crafts and hobbies include: drying flowers and herbs, painting/drawing in the garden, making jams and pickles, collecting seeds, bark, sticks and leaves to make 3D pictures, fairy gardens with the grandkids

– Planting, watering, digging and caring for different plants that can be used for food and enjoyment. Garden spaces, tools and equipment can be modified or adapted to reduce physical stress

– Helping out in someone else’s garden and community gardens has the added social benefits of doing something you enjoy with likeminded people. Local government and gardening groups have details of community gardens and workshops

Safety tips

– Know what your body is capable of, warm up before and take regular breaks

– Keep hydrated and protected from the sun

– Attend to cuts, bruises and bites straight away and ensure areas are non-slip and flat where possible

– Wear proactive shoes and gardening gloves and take care with equipment