Gardening has long been touted as a wonderful restorative pastime for people of all ages and abilities. But it’s especially beneficial for seniors, who may not have ready access to other popular pastimes. So, we’ve put together a brief list of some of the fantastic benefits that gardening can bring to seniors and elderly people. No matter your age, gardening can enrich and beautify your life.
Relieves Stress and Anxiety
Millions of people all around the world find that gardening and spending time in nature helps relieve the stress and anxiety of our busy world, and this is true for seniors too. Studies have shown that gardening can lower our stress hormone (cortisol), thus helping us feel more peaceful and relaxed.
Provides a Low-Impact, Low-Stress Form of Exercise
As we age, our bodies are less-equipped to handle the high-intensity, high-stress activities that may have served as exercise in our younger days. Finding an enjoyable, low-impact and fulfilling way to exercise can thus be a bit of a challenge for seniors—luckily, gardening provides a low-impact way to move your body more and reap the benefits of gentle exercise.
The moderate aerobic exercise provided by gardening increases our bodies’ production of serotonin and dopamine—the two ‘happy’ hormones’ that help us enjoy life and feel fulfilled—and helps reduce cortisol.
To minimise risks of injury or stiffness, seniors can regularly incorporate some gentle stretching activities after they garden. This will also help to enhance muscular control, improve balance and coordination, increase blood circulation and improve on their quality of life.
Gardening means spending more time outside, which means more time in the sun. While we always have to be careful about being ‘sun smart’, increased sun exposure boosts our Vitamin D levels. Because a vitamin D deficiency can make us feel rundown, more sun tends to improve our mood.
At the same time, Vitamin D plays a very important role in the body’s ability to absorb calcium and help develop our immune system. This benefit is further aided by the presence of certain friendly bacteria in garden soil, which has been known to alleviate symptoms of asthma, psoriasis, allergies, and depression.
As well as being good for your body, gardening has wonderful implications for brain health in the elderly. One study indicates that gardening may lower the risk of dementia by as much as 36%, possibly because gardening draws upon so many critical brain functions.
However, gardening has also proven beneficial for seniors with Alzheimer’s and dementia, allowing a safe and relaxed way to stimulate the senses and connect in a meaningful way with the outdoors.
At the same time, gardening requires dexterity and sensory awareness, as well as concentrated application of motor skills; practicing these skills helps ensure greater mental acuity and aid in longevity.
Most importantly, another key benefit of gardening for seniors is its ability to provide community and connection with others. Elderly people often find that gardening is a passion that allows them to feel responsible and take pride and joy in their beautiful green achievements.
At Amico, we love encouraging our community to develop their own passion for gardening, no matter their age. We love creating gardens that allow you to get involved and reap all of the great benefits of gardening without the burden of the big maintenance tasks that can seem overwhelming.
To see some of the ways we can tailor our gardening approach to suit our clients’ needs, look at our project gallery. This provides a small snapshot of the range of diverse gardens we’ve created for happy clients of all ages over the years.