Gardening is a favorite pastime for many older adults, especially for our residents at UMC at Pitman. Hobbies are a huge part of retirement and being able to continue doing what you love is important to anyone’s overall health. That’s why it’s important for us to highlight proper safety tips for seniors to take while gardening.
If you’re ready to take up gardening, but you’re not sure how to start easily and safely – look no further! The assisted living team at UMC at Pitman has put together safety tips for seniors who garden, just in time for National Plant a Flower Day on the 12th!
Safety gardening tips for seniors
Tip #1: Buy gardening tools that are easy to handle. Maneuvering different gardening tools can prove difficult for some seniors – especially those with arthritis, Parkinson’s, or limited mobility. As a baseline, look for tools that are more ergonomic with large, easy-to-grip handles. The tool should feel comfortable in your hands and not be too heavy. It’s also recommended to completely avoid power tools and only use manual ones, especially if gardening alone.
Tip #2: Make sure there is a clear walkway into the garden. In line with sturdy and reliable gardening tools, there should also be a reliable path to and from the garden. The walkway needs to be accessible at all times for those with limited mobility. This means the path needs to be wide enough and smooth enough to accommodate a wheelchair, walker, or cane. The last thing anyone wants is to turn a fun activity, like gardening, into a fall hazard!
Tip #3: Avoid gardening during the hottest time of the day. Luckily, we’re still in March and the weather isn’t too hot yet. However, we will quickly be entering prime spring and summer months where the sun shows no mercy. For seniors especially, it’s advisable to avoid strenuous activities during the hottest times of the day. This usually falls between 12 pm-4 pm, depending on other weather conditions that are happening that day.
Tip #4: Protect your skin by wearing sunscreen and proper clothing. Whether it’s a sunny day or a cloudy day, it’s important for seniors to protect their skin when spending significant time outdoors gardening. Wear sunscreen that is at least 30 SPF and protects the skin from both UVA and UVB rays. It’s also essential to wear clothing and accessories that protect vulnerable parts of the body. We suggest, for example, a large, wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses for the head, face, and eye protection.
Tip #5: Don’t take on too much at once – spread out gardening tasks throughout the day. When you get into the “groove” of something, it can be hard to pick up and leave a task “unfinished.” However, it’s much more important to know your health and safety limits. When gardening, don’t set unrealistic goals for yourself like planting the entire garden of fruits and vegetables in one day. Instead, focus on a few plants at a time to avoid overworking your muscles and joints. This is particularly important if you have arthritis or other health conditions that limit or affect your range of motion.
Senior activities at UMC in Pitman, NJ
At UMC at Pitman, we always encourage assisted living residents to branch out and explore new hobbies! With proper health and safety guidelines in effect, there’s no reason why our residents can’t socialize and have fun with other residents through their favorite activities.
At our senior community, we’ve been able to successfully hold group sessions such as meditation, fitness classes, movie nights, and even virtual museum tours since COVID-19 first hit. Whatever your hobby, our goal is for every resident to feel completely supported and confident to live their life to the fullest.
Original blog posted on https://pitman.umcommunities.org/2022/03/21/5-safety-tips-for-seniors-who-garden/