Gardening for Seniors

By Michelle Jackson, MiCAFE Network Screening and Application Specialist at Elder Law of Michigan

Gardening is a satisfying experience at any age. For those of you who love gardening or have just decided that you may like to try gardening, I have some really good tips. You should start small, which is always a great idea when you are thinking of learning a new skill like gardening.

In the article Gardens For Senior Citizens: Creating An Easy Care Senior Garden, Bonnie L. Grant discusses different ways to overcome gardening barriers you may experience as you age. Containers or flower boxes that are raised are great because they eliminate the need to bend over, which helps prevent falls. You may be afraid to venture outside because you fear you might fall on the walkway if it is rocky or overgrown. Be sure to have a loved one clear the pathway for you, this is especially important if you are using a walker or cane.

Ms. Grant points out the barriers arthritis can cause and ways you can continue gardening. If holding tools is difficult because your hands are arthritic, invest in foam grips if you are able. If you have a grabber you can use it while you are seated. Don’t forget your garden caddy so you don’t have to lug tools and supplies back and forth. You can buy plants that are already growing or you can plant seeds. Ms. Grant suggests you get hardy plants that can withstand most anything, as opposed to getting plants that need constant care. Plants that need constant care can become labor-intensive to the point where you may lose interest in the whole gardening project.

If you are ready to begin, check in with your local garden center or senior center as they may offer helpful resources for setting up easy care gardens. They may even know of a community garden, which would allow you to interact with your neighbors as well as your family members while gardening. Including family members is a really good idea since you likely have knowledge and wisdom to share with your kids and grandkids. It has been proven that gardening has secret health benefits. Gardening can relieve stress, keep bodies limber, and even deliver a beneficial mood booster! I hope these resources can help you continue gardening, or begin gardening this summer!

Michelle Jackson is an Economic Security Team Member for MiCAFE as well as a MMAP counselor at Elder Law of Michigan. Michelle has been a member of the Elder Law of Michigan team since March 2013. As an Economic Security Team Member and MMAP counselor, Michelle assists Michigan seniors with benefit applications and serves as an advocate for the health and safety of seniors.