Gardening delivers surprising health benefits for older people
Whether you’re a budding amateur or a blooming expert, gardening can bring a number of surprising health and wellbeing benefits for older people – from increased mobility, lower stress levels and reduced feelings of loneliness.
Health and wellbeing benefits of gardening for older people
Staying active can help older people improve their strength and reduce the risk of falls, which increases as we age. Getting regular exercise is important for older people and gardening is a great choice of exercise- it can be fairly low impact and lead to improved fitness, coordination and flexibility through walking, bending and stretching.
Gardening, and spending time outside, can also be great for your mental health. Many of us love being around nature and enjoy the calming effect it can have. Gardening can help to reduce feelings of stress, increase feelings of happiness and help older people stay connected to others through shared experiences.
Getting out in the garden can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience – by achieving goals, learning new skills and sharing knowledge, it can help boost confidence and as a result, increase feelings of satisfaction.
In addition, gardening can also offer a delight for the senses – colourful blooms, beautiful scents and a variety of textures help engage the senses, jog memories and bring great joy.
A Garden of Joy
For Joy, an aged care resident in the Hunter region of NSW, gardening has always been a great love. When she moved into residential aged care she hadn’t expect to continue to enjoy the benefits of gardening like she had in the past.
With the help of her aged care provider, she created her incredible ‘garden of joy’ which has firmly planted her passion to continue to do one of the things that matters most to her – and everyone’s reaping the benefits!
Watch Joy’s story
Our top gardening tips for older people
- Stretch it out – before and after a session of gardening, add some light stretching to avoid injury
- Stay sun safe – although the sun can bring the benefits of mother nature, it’s important to protect your skin and eyes with a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen – and remember to stay hydrated
- Keep connected – keep your phone close in case you need help if there’s a problem. Share your garden with others and ask them if they’d like to join you for a gardening session and a cuppa
- Ask for help – if you need help to be able to continue your passion for gardening – such as needing to install a vertical garden or raised garden beds, or for help with heavy lifting, reach out to those around you or find out how Community Care could help.