May 14, 2024 |

Gardening for Seniors

Seniors gardening in Chicago

Gardening is fun and has many health benefits, including for older adults. Gardening can alleviate stress, improve mood, and even help reduce blood pressure.

At our Chicago retirement community at Montgomery Place, we provide plenty of opportunities for older adults to "putter around in the garden" and enjoy the numerous benefits of gardening for seniors.

Seniors Gardening Helps Keep Them Active

As we get older, it becomes even more important to stay active. When seniors garden, it encourages them to get outside and do something physical without putting excessive strain on them. Even people with significant mobility issues can still garden with the right tools. Gardening for seniors helps preserve physical activity and, thus, overall health.

Gardening sessions should be kept short; seniors should stretch before gardening and stretch their backs and arms while working. But overall, gardening is a great way to maintain low, steady physical activity that supports health without straining an older adult's joints. It's a great way to work towards the recommended 30 minutes of exercise daily, reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke and rebuilding strength and mobility.

It also "tricks" you into getting more exercise because you are focused on looking after the plants instead of "working out." This can help those who aren't particularly motivated to exercise.

Benefits of Gardening for Seniors

In addition to encouraging physical activity, gardening has several benefits for the elderly. Seniors gardening experience a variety of physical and mental health benefits, which include:

  • Reduced stress. Gardening lowers levels of cortisol, which also affects blood pressure. Gardening is even better for reducing stress than curling up with a good book!

  • Reduced depression. Gardening also increases levels of serotonin, a mood-improving chemical in the brain. Gardening is being used as therapy for people with mental illness.

  • Increased levels of vitamin D. Spending time outside increases vitamin D levels. However, you should wear sunscreen to protect your skin. Increased vitamin D reduces the risk of heart disease, improves mood, and lowers the risk of calcium deficiency, which can cause depleted bone strength and increase the danger of a fall.

  • Reduction in the risk of dementia. Studies have found regular gardening can reduce the risk of dementia by as much as 36%. Gardening can also help seniors with dementia experience an improved quality of life. We don't know why gardening reduces the risk of dementia, but it seems to work, and it probably has to do with improving dexterity, problem-solving, and sensory awareness.

  • Potentially reduces isolation. In our community, seniors can work in community gardens, encouraging them to spend time with others.

  • Improved bond with nature. Caring for plants helps people stay in touch with nature and the physical world. It also gives a sense of responsibility that can improve the mental health of older adults who may feel they have outlived their sense of purpose.

On top of these, there's also the benefit of getting out in the fresh air in general, which always improves mood and reduces agitation. Seniors in our community get access to private gardens and our greenhouses (allowing gardening even in Chicago's harsh winters).

Interested in the Montgomery Place Community? Contact Us Today to Schedule a Tour

Our community has beautiful grounds, including our private gardens and greenhouses, where seniors can benefit from gardening. If you are looking for a long-term home (we provide levels of care from independent living through skilled nursing and memory care), contact us today to schedule a tour of our community and amenities.

Featured Image: AlessandroBiascioli / Shutterstock

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