Gardening has many health and therapeutic benefits for older people. It’s especially satisfying come harvest time and you can eat the fruit of your labor…or vegetable Garden beds, equipment and tools can all be modified to create a garden that is interesting, accessible and productive.

•Gardening keeps you fit and healthy

•Everyone can benefit from creating an edible garden. Seniors can get particular benefits because gardening:

•Is an enjoyable form of exercise.

•Increases levels of physical activity and maintains mobility and flexibility.

•Encourages use of all motor skills-walking, reaching and bending

•Improves endurance and strength.

•Reduces stress levels and promotes relaxation.

•Provides stimulation and interest in nature and the outdoors.

•Improves wellbeing as a result of social interaction.

•Provides nutritious, home-grown produce.

Safety in the garden

•Here are a few safety tips that older people should follow and caregivers should encourage.

•Attend to any cuts, bruises or insect bites immediately.

•Secure gates and fences if memory loss is an issue, ensure that paths and walkways are clear.

•Warm up before gardening and encourage frequent breaks.

•Prevent sun exposure by working in the garden early in the morning or late in the day. Wear a hat and apply sunscreen frequently.

•Drink water or juice, and avoid alcohol.

•Wear protective shoes, lightweight comfortable clothes that cover exposed skin.

As always check with your doctor before starting any new activity!