Fresh air. Physical activity. Connection to nature. A sense of accomplishment. There are plenty of reasons people enjoy gardening... and there is no reason that age needs to be a barrier to enjoying horticulture. At Monarch Communities®, we fully believe in the benefits of gardening for seniors—and we think that you should too!
Benefits of Gardening for Older Adults
- Increased physical activity - Perhaps the most obvious upside of senior gardening is the health benefit of physical activity. As a low-impact activity, gardening can be a great way to get older adults, even those with limited motor skills, up and moving.
- Vitamin D exposure - Outdoor gardening activities means seniors get much-needed vitamin D, which is a common nutrient deficiency among older adults .
- Improved sense of well-being - Horticulture therapy is the concept that gardening helps give people a sense of accomplishment while boosting physical and mental health , evidenced by increased levels of hormones and chemicals like serotonin . Several studies support the benefits of senior gardening , particularly in senior living communities.
- Helps people living with dementia - Promising recent research suggests that horticulture therapy and exposure to nature/natural sights and sounds can be especially beneficial for people living with Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia. Specifically, gardening may help people with living dementia decrease agitation levels and lower blood pressure . Some preliminary research even suggests that gardening may actually reduce the risk of dementia altogether!
- Potential boost to the immune system - Gardening means beneficial exposure to Mycobacterium vaccae found in soil. Some exposure to this bacteria may help boost the immune system, according to some non-human animal studies .
Gardening Tips for Seniors and Their Caregivers
- Are you or an aging loved one interested in gardening? The following tips and tricks can help make senior gardening a much safer and more enjoyable experience! Elevate your garden beds - Raised beds, trellises, and vertical gardens make gardening easier for older people with limited dexterity or back problems.
- Plant year-round - Windowsill or container gardening allow people to reap the continued benefits of horticulture all year.
- Gear up - Gardening gloves, kneelers, and other gardening tools are great for anyone, but especially for older gardeners who may have arthritis and an increased tendency to bruise.
- Use sun protection - While everyone needs vitamin D, gardeners still should not neglect to still wear sunscreen and proper sun-protective clothing, such as wide-brimmed hats.
- Start with something hardy - Succulents can be an easy indoor starter plant for older gardeners who may have difficulty remembering to water their plants on a regular basis.
Gardening at Monarch Communities®
We believe in the restorative effects of horticulture therapy and feature gardens in our senior living retirement communities, from Independent Living Independent Living
Contact us to learn more Contact us to learn more Assisted Living Assisted Living to Memory Care Memory Care. These community gardens are a place for residents to connect with themselves, each other, and nature—all of which we believe boosts mental and physical health for everyone involved. about how we incorporate senior gardening into our communities.