Gardening can be a rewarding and fun activity for senior citizens. Since, many seniors are retirees, gardening gives them an activity to occupy their free time. The elderly population is most at risk for developing depression due to the following reasons: body changes, not having the same level of energy in youth, living alone, death of a spouse, and an overall feeling of helplessness among many other reasons.
Social Benefits of Gardening
The children of many senior citizens have already moved on and created families of their own and may not communicate with their parent(s) often. To ease depression getting a household pet can help for it gives one a sense of responsibility for another life which research shows, helps with depression. The problem is that some seniors may be allergic to certain household pets; therefore, gardening provides a more convenient alternative. Because many seniors live on fixed income, they can save money on the cost of food by growing their own produce.
One of the main causes of depression is a lack of social reinforcement. One gets social reinforcement through positive social interactions with others, having people to converse with regularly, and having a support system. Gardening can be a very social activity. Some communities have gardening competitions where individuals can be rewarded for having the best looking garden; friendly competition can also bring about social reinforcement. When people see how beautiful a senior’s garden look they will complement that person. Also seniors can have gardening classes where they teach children and adults alike how to garden. Overall, gardening gives seniors the opportunity to network and socialize with other seniors who are gardening.
Economic Rewards of Gardening
There are economic rewards for seniors who does gardening work. First, as mentioned earlier seniors can save money on the cost of food by growing their own produce. Many senior citizens struggle to meet ends meet for they live on fixed income. AARP conducted a survey which showed that many senior citizens struggle to pay for food and utility bills. Seniors who garden can make money by teaching others how to garden; however, seniors should make sure they comply with tax laws and host small classes. By gardening seniors can make extra money on the side that can be used for extra expenses.
Misconceptions about gardening
Unfortunately, many seniors and young adults feel that gardening can be very physically demanding and dangerous for seniors but that is not true at all. Gardening does require a bit of physical activity and it requires a lot of bending and getting on the ground. However, with careful planning and a little help a senior can enjoy gardening with very little injury.
Here are some ways senior citizens can do gardening safely:
1. Read books about gardening safety tips before gardening.
2. Purchase a grapler gun. A grapler gun is an assistance device used to reach things and pick things up. This device is helpful for seniors with back problems or arthritis.
3. Get help! Seniors need to let others help them with their garden.
One common misconception about gardening is that it is expensive. Gardening is expensive but there are cheap alternatives. One thing seniors can do is save the seeds from any fruits or vegetables they eat. Seniors should save money to buy gardening supplies and ask family and friends fro money to get the garden up and running.
In the end
Gardening can be a wonderful opportunity for seniors and people of all ages. With senior citizens being vulnerable to depression due to loneliness and lack of funds from being on fixed income, gardening can be a great activity to ease those pressures. Gardening can provide the social activity and reinforcement that seniors and all people need. Gardening is a somewhat physical activity so elderly people should be careful, wear protective gloves, and get help as necessary. Gardening can be an expensive venture so seniors should take some cost cutting precautions and ask family and friends for assistance in buying gardening supplies. If you have a family member or friend who is a senior citizen and he or she wants to take up gardening, support them.