April is National Lawn and Garden month! It’s the time of year many of us who have been hibernating indoors during the winter get a chance to get outside and enjoy the fresh air and warmer temperatures.
Spring blooms are popping up in bright colors. Those with a green thumb can start planting fresh vegetables to harvest from their own garden during the hot months of summer. Plus, April is the perfect time to start on lawn care for healthy green spaces.
For older adults though – gardening can be much more than just a pastime. It can be a good way to exercise, to connect with family and community. It’s also an excellent way to help improve mood and reduce depression.
Studies have even shown that gardening may help to stabilize the loss of cognitive functioning in people with Alzheimer’s disease. (Learn more about dementia gardens here).
If you or your senior loved one are looking for activities that improve your overall health, gardening is definitely one of those activities.
It not only provides physical benefits but also improves your overall mentality. Aside from the obvious increase in your lifespan and health, you can also enjoy other surprising benefits from gardening.
Gardening is a fun and interesting activity that you can take part in as a hobby and a source of relaxation.
Exposure to nature through gardens and gardening activities can enhance psychological well-being through emotion regulation and relief from stress. Classic early research shows that viewing nature through windows or in pictures can positively affect stress recovery, lowering blood pressure and slowing heart rate. Because natural environments require less effortful attention and may act as a distraction from daily hassles, in particular for frail older adults, simply being in a garden or viewing elements of a garden may provide benefits such as relaxation and restoration.National Institutes of Health
Along with viewing the activities of wildlife and nature, here are some of the other health benefits you can get from gardening:
Social Benefits. Taking care of your lawn and doing some gardening can bring you closer to nature. When you look at plants, do you see the colors, the smells, the fauna and other factors that make you feel close to nature?
This is what gardening can do for you. It can provide you with social interaction as you look at different plants and trees, compare and contrast them, learn more about nature and its special features, and build stronger social relationships with people who you meet on your way.
Natural Therapy. Gardening is a good therapeutic activity. Studies have shown that gardening improves mental health and improves people’s ability to cope with stress and improve their well-being.
Aside from this, studies show that gardening also helps to keep your physical body in better health. It helps to lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol levels, increase strength and muscle mass, promote better circulation of oxygen and nutrients, help strengthen the immune system, facilitate sleep, and promote wellness.
These all result to a longer life and healthy lifestyle.
Pain Relief. Do you know that one of the health benefits of gardening for seniors is exercise?
Exercising helps reduce pain, especially when you engage in activities such as walking, jogging, bicycling or tennis. This is because regular exercise makes our muscles and bones stronger and less subject to wear and tear. It also makes muscles more flexible so they can better absorb shock.
All that digging, planting and pulling does more than produce plants. Gardening also will increase your hand strength. What a great way to keep your hands and fingers as strong as possible for as long as possible.UNCHealthcare.org
Nutritional Benefits. If you choose to grow fruits and vegetables in your garden then you are getting the great benefits of healthier meals. You can choose among a variety of nutritious fruits and vegetables.
Gardening Made Easier For Seniors
Although there are many great benefits to celebrating National Lawn and Garden Month with your senior loved ones it’s also important to make sure that it’s a safe activity and oftentimes that means making it an easy activity.
There are many gardening tools that can help with that and we even have some great gardening tips for you as well to help yourself and the older adults in your family enjoy gardening as much as possible.
Ideas On How To Celebrate National Lawn and Garden Month
Here are just a few ideas on how you can celebrate the wonderful month of April with your senior loved ones.
- Plant a vegetable garden – even if it’s a small one, such as an indoor herb garden or via container gardening. Flowers are beautiful but growing your own food from vegetable seeds or plants can be very satisfying.
- Take a trip to a local farm or botanical garden. (At the very least, be sure to enjoy the local farmers markets to get flowers and extra vegetables at the end of summer.)
- Select a book or two to read about gardening. There are many that are filled with great tips on how to grow and care for your plants.
- Consider a composting container. Save those potato peels, egg shells and used coffee grinds to feed the compost pile and help nurture your plants.
- Put up a bird feeder. This could be either a freestanding one or one that attaches to a window.
- Volunteer at a local farm or community garden.
- Tour the gardens of the neighborhood garden club to admire the beautiful spring bulbs in bloom.
- If you can’t get out into your own backyard, take an armchair garden tour of a beautiful garden space in Europe or the United States through a photo book.
- Plan a picnic with loved ones at your local park or public outdoor spaces.
- Have some fun with some lawn art. These days it’s much more than just pink flamingos! There are some beautiful solar powered ones that can bring some whimsy to your beautiful yard.
- Create a butterfly garden or a bird-friendly garden. These take some planning but the end result can be so beautiful, not to mention that they can help native butterflies and can provide beneficial insects for the birds.
- Just remember to be safe in the garden. Using tools like a garden stool, ergonomic tools, and raised planters can help to make being outdoors a great experience.
Planting plenty of colorful flowers not only helps out pollinating insects, but also will provide you with a gorgeous landscape. https://t.co/qGCufVKoXA— BetterHomes&Gardens (@BHG) March 26, 2021
As you can see there are many great benefits to gardening and some wonderful ways to celebrate it, so go ahead and celebrate National Lawn and Garden month with your senior loved ones!
P.S. – National Garden Month and National Garden Week are pretty cool, too!