Benefits of Gardening from Our Pittsburgh Retirement Community
Help Your Loved One Enjoy the Mental and Physical Benefits of Gardening
Spring has sprung, and that means it’s time to get gardening! Not only is gardening an enjoyable activity, but it also offers many health benefits for seniors, particularly those experiencing memory challenges. Gardening keeps seniors active both physically and mentally and gives a feeling of accomplishment, all of which can cause a snowball of positive effects. While it can still be a little chilly during springtime in Pittsburgh, you can often find optimal times to get outside around lunch and in the afternoon to take advantage of the sunshine. Or, you could also help your loved one create an indoor garden to make it more accessible and comfortable for them. Keep reading to learn more about the benefits that your loved one can enjoy by gardening, compiled by The Haven at North Hills, one of the top Pittsburgh memory care communities.
Aging adults, especially those who are struggling with memory challenges, can experience depression, mood swings, aggression and more. Gardening can help reduce these feelings–staying busy and having something to focus on is shown to reduce negative thoughts and feelings, thus easing stress and boosting self-esteem. Additionally, if your loved one is gardening outside, they can enjoy increased serotonin levels from the sunlight, further contributing to calmer and happier moods.
Sensory stimulation is great for aging seniors as it helps keep their senses sharp. In fact, sensory therapy is very common and has the ability to improve mood and spark past memories for those suffering from memory challenges. Gardening is a perfect example of sensory stimulation as it engages all of the senses. Your loved one can experience the scents of the plants using their smell, the colors and details using their sight, the sounds of tending to the garden using their hearing, the various textures using their touch, and if it is a vegetable or herb garden, they may enjoy the reward of tasting the fruits of their labor. Gardening serves as a rewarding and therapeutic activity for your loved one, and engaging all of their senses can also encourage mindfulness. It’s important to use senses to understand what the garden needs, such as more water if plants are visibly wilting or browning, which in turn encourages your loved one to be present as they monitor their plants.
A Sense of Purpose
Everyone strives to find meaning and feel a sense of purpose in their everyday life. Gardening is an activity that can provide your loved one with a positive sense of purpose, as they are responsible for taking care of the wellbeing of the plants in the garden. In addition, they will get to experience the satisfaction and reward of either harvesting and enjoying their crops, or having beautiful blooms to look at as a reminder of their work.
Improved Physical Health
Both indoor and outdoor gardening both serve as wonderful opportunities for engaging in physical activity. As your loved one ages, it’s more important than ever that they stay physically active. The act of gardening can promote your loved one’s motor skills, strength, and balance, as all of these are required for tending to delicate plants.
Here at The Haven, we offer community gardens for our residents to tend to and enjoy the fruits of their labor! This allows residents to connect with other fellow residents as well, serving as a great socializing opportunity. We also know that some people prefer to just observe rather than partake in gardening, which is why we keep our grounds and gardens beautiful for residents to enjoy while taking in the fresh air. If you’re looking for a community for your loved one that makes meaningful activities a priority, then look no further than The Haven at North Hills Personal Care and Memory Care community in Pittsburgh, PA.
To learn more about residency or schedule a tour of The Haven, contact our friendly team today.
Gardening is a relaxing, productive activity that can help lower stress and support our mental health. But just because the weather is getting cooler doesn't mean we have to wait until next year to enjoy gardening. Fall is the best time to plant perennial flower bulbs, which bloom year after year!
Check with your local nursery for recommendations on what to plant. There are a range of choices--daffodils, tulips, allium, and hyacinth are 4 of the hardiest perennials for all planting zones. When spring comes around, you can look for your budding flowers!
Food is a critical component of not only our health, but our overall happiness and well being. That’s why we place a large emphasis on the importance of healthy eating. The food we eat every day plays a huge role in our brain function, and that doesn’t change as we get older. In fact, it’s even more important!: ow.ly/FQ7O50KWcuY