Gardening is a worthwhile endeavor for anyone who wants to spend time in the outdoors, create beauty, and enjoy the bountiful harvest of fruits and vegetables that can be grown in even a small plot. That’s why gardening has become a fixture at many senior citizen living communities across the country, as it provides a multitude of advantages to seniors that can result in physical, mental, and emotional wellness benefits. The best senior living communities have dedicated areas where residents can put their green thumbs to use growing flowers or nutritious fruits and vegetables.
Because of the wide spectrum of benefits that seniors get from gardening, it’s important that communities for senior living on Long Island include the opportunity to play in the dirt. The advantages created by senior gardening go well beyond increased physical activity and stress relief. Keep reading to learn more about the importance of gardening in senior living communities.
The obvious advantage of gardening for seniors is that it provides a low-impact, safe form of physical activity that can increase health and boost energy levels for a population that often gets too little exercise. The motions involved in gardening are simple and typically don’t lead to injury, which makes them perfect for seniors. Gardening can help build strength and promote enhanced flexibility that benefits the physical health of senior citizens. Many seniors also suffer from a deficit in vitamin D, which is produced in the body with exposure to sunlight. Gardening provides a safe method for boosting vitamin D levels since it’s done outdoors.
There’s also the mental side of gardening that can benefit seniors. It keeps the mind engaged in an activity that requires focus, learning, and absorption of information. Planning even a small garden requires calculation and planning, which can help seniors retain mental agility and ward off the forgetfulness that often goes with advancing age. Even a simple task such as establishing a watering schedule can help many seniors gain daily structure, which is important for memory retention and developing routine.
Spending time in a natural setting is one of the best ways to soothe the soul and recenter the mind. Many senior citizens struggle with depression as they age, whether due to frequent illness, declining physical abilities, loss of friends and close family members, or feelings of isolation. Gardening can help conquer some of those feelings by providing seniors with an activity that allows them to create by planting seeds and watching them grow to fruition. Gardening is well recognized as a viable form of stress management. There’s peace that comes from working with the soil and helping other living things to flower and be productive.
No produce tastes better than the kind you grow yourself. Because of that, gardening promotes better nutrition among senior citizens; they grow nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables that are then converted to healthy meals. Those nutrients bring with them physical, mental, and emotional benefits that magnify the existing benefits created by the act of gardening.
Increased Social Interaction
While some prefer the quiet solitude of solo gardening, when implemented in senior communities, gardening can offer an excellent communal activity that promotes increased social engagement. Gardening on the same plot is an excellent venue for conversation and shared knowledge. Many seniors grew up in an agrarian lifestyle, and gardening brings back fond memories of their youth that can form shared experiences among senior community residents.
The positive aspects if gardening in a communal setting is undebatable. It can provide an avenue for increased social interaction, a nutritional boost, emotional rewards, increased mental engagement, and more robust physical activity. To learn more about the best senior living in Long Island, contact Oyster Bay Senior Campus at (516) 460-9722.