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How Can Gardening Promote a Senior’s Health?

Though many aging adults are at risk for illness and depression, gardening may be an effective solution for boosting a senior’s overall health. Summit at-home care experts recommend this therapeutic hobby, and here are just a few ways it can benefit your senior loved one’s wellbeing. 

It Encourages Physical Activity

Gardening is a wonderful form of low-impact exercise. All the squatting, twisting, stretching, and bending your loved one will do when he or she works in the garden can help him or her stay in shape and keep joints flexible. Seniors who garden on a regular basis often notice a significant increase in their mobility over time.

It Benefits Emotional Wellbeing

The National Alliance on Mental Illness stated depression impacts about 6.5 million seniors over the age of 65. However, gardening can help ease your loved one’s anxiety and stress and enhance his or her mood. Researchers at Leiden University and Wageningen University found doing 30 minutes of gardening helped lower the stress hormone cortisol and boost a person’s mood.

It Provides a Source of Vitamin D

Seniors who have a vitamin D deficiency are at a greater risk for osteoporosis, hip fractures, and muscle weakness. When your loved one spends too much time indoors, it’s more difficult for him or her to get the necessary amount of vitamin D to maintain optimum health. Regular time spent outside gardening helps ensure he or she gets this important vitamin from the sun.

It Keeps the Brain Healthy 

Research suggests seniors who garden may lower their risk of developing Alzheimer’s or reduce symptoms related to this disease. Richard Zeisel, the president of Hearthstone Alzheimer Care, found seniors with Alzheimer’s who participated in gardening experienced a significant decrease in agitation, aggression, anxiety, and social isolation. He also stated those who used gardening for relaxation had a reduced need for antipsychotic drugs.

In addition to being helpful for seniors with memory-related conditions, gardening also has many benefits for seniors receiving Parkinson’s and post-stroke care in Summit. Even seniors in good health can use gardening to stave off certain conditions. If your loved one could use a helping hand in the garden or with other activities, turn to Home Care Assistance. Our caregivers can assist with many household chores, provide transportation, and even run errands. For more information on our senior care services, call one of our friendly Care Managers today at 908.450.9400 to schedule a free in-home consultation