Seniors have always enjoyed gardening as a peaceful pastime, but many more are now taking up this healthy hobby because they are learning about the important physical benefits it provides. The staff at Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of elder care in Warren, discusses a few ways gardening can boost your aging loved one’s physical wellbeing.
Enhanced Heart Health and Lowered Stroke Risk
Spending some time out in the garden is an excellent way for your loved one to get some regular moderate exercise. A 2013 study conducted at Stockholm University revealed gardening for 2 to 3 hours a week can reduce a senior’s stroke risk by as much as 30 percent. When combined with a healthy diet, this style of exercise can help boost your loved one’s heart health.
Two of the most common side effects of aging are a loss of hand strength and decreased dexterity. Though diminishing muscle mass is part of the problem, a lack of use can also contribute to dexterity impairment. Exercising the wrists and hands with small shovels and trowels can help reduce your loved one’s risk of repetitive stress injuries, arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and tendonitis.
Healthier Immune System
Seniors should be doing everything in their power to bolster their immune systems, and gardening can help them accomplish this. Regularly getting vitamin D from sunlight naturally supports the immune system, and coming into contact with the “friendly” bacteria found in dirt has also been shown to alleviate allergies, asthma, and other respiratory problems that can exacerbate illnesses.
A healthy diet is your loved one’s first line of defense against many common illnesses and diseases. According to many nutrition experts, the vast majority of a senior’s diet should consist of fresh produce full of vitamins and minerals. If your loved one takes up gardening, he or she can grow these fruits and vegetables right at home and have constant access to them. Even in harsh climates, various fruits, vegetables, and herbs can easily be grown indoors as long as they receive sufficient sunlight through the windows.
Gardening and other physical tasks around the house may be difficult for some seniors to accomplish. If your loved one needs additional physical support, turn to Home Care Assistance. In addition to helping in the garden, our caregivers can provide assistance with cooking, grooming, light housekeeping, and various other tasks. We also offer comprehensive Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and stroke care for Warren seniors who need more extensive assistance. For more information on our senior care services and to request a free consultation, call one of our friendly Care Managers at 908.450.9400 today.