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Safe Gardening Tips for Seniors

Planting a garden and watching it grow is a wonderful hobby that many people enjoy. Many seniors take pride in their gardens which feature flowers, trees, and shrubs. However, seniors have to be more conscious about bending, squatting, and moving around as their bodies age. Bending down to pull out a weed was easy for the thirty-something gardener but can be more strenuous for the senior. Here are a few ways to garden safely.

Be Nice to Your Knees to Garden Safely

Fall is the time to plant bulbs and spring is perfect for bedding plants. You need to get down on the ground to do the planting. This may put more pressure on your back and knees. It is not easy to squat, kneel, or bend down to dig up dirt and set the plants in the soil if your legs are stiff, or you have knee or hip replacement, and back problems.

Take time to prepare the soil while you are standing. Use a hoe, rake, or shovel to dig holes or trenches. Further, use as many garden tools as possible to help you plant. Use a weed wacker and other devices with a long handle to pull out weeds.

The best way to be kind to your back, neck, and knees is to sit on a low stool or special cushion for gardeners if you have to sit on the ground. Ease gently down to the small seat or pad. Bend from the knees, if possible. Spread out your legs instead of kneeling or sitting on your heels. You may find it easier to rise up from the ground using your hands, knees, and feet. This is using "all fours" to move into a standing position. (Yoga students are familiar with this movement.) It, indeed, puts much less strain on the back and legs.

Mowing, Pruning, and Other Activities

Use the lightest weight pruning shears for keeping those hedges at the right height. Always wear garden gloves, especially when pruning roses and other thorny plants. Shears with long handles make it easy to prune low and high areas. Try to place the cuttings in a wheelbarrow or lightweight cart so that you don't have to bend down to pick them up.

Mowing the lawn was good exercise when you cut the grass with a conventional lawnmower when you were younger. Electric and gas-powered mowers are much easier although, they may be heavier. The best way to cut grass is a sit-down power mower, especially if you have a large lawn area. Drive carefully around your lawn and ask for help if needed to empty the container with the cut grass.

You may have climbed a ladder to trim tree branches. That is not always advisable as people grow older and have issues with balance. Tree trimming may now be a job for a professional arborist.

Grow Plants in Pots

Grow plants, including flowers, outdoors as well as indoors in pots. The pots can be any size and placed on a table or ledge that gives you easy access to the plantings. Hanging baskets of flowers are always a nice addition. Potted plants are easy to water with a can with a long spout.

Move potted plants around on a cart or wagon. Ask for help in lifting any heavy pots.

Home Health Aides Help Gardeners Garden Safely

A home health aide can assist you with some gardening chores. They can help you move pots, store tools, and cut flowers. An aide will also help you water your garden. Seniors who use walkers or wheelchairs welcome assistance from home health professionals who understand the pleasures of gardening.

Elite Home Health Care has trained caregivers who are familiar with your lifestyle and can help you with your daily needs. They can help you enjoy your garden safely. Contact us for more information. We serve New York City, Buffalo, Rochester, and Batavia.

Written by: Leah Ganz
Director of Patient Services

Leah Ganz, RN, BSN is the Director of Patient Services at Elite Home Health Care. She has an extensive background in homecare and previously worked in various specialties including pediatrics, pain managemnet and internal medicine. She oversees allpatient services across Elite's departments.