When we think about staying healthy as we age, we tend to focus our attention on medical insurance, prescription drug benefits and finding a physician who understands the medical needs of seniors. These are important, of course – but let’s not overlook one of the most basic, most important aspects of healthy aging: staying active. Maintaining an active lifestyle can be the number one prescription for a healthy retirement.
And one of the best ways to stay active? The answer may surprise you. It’s gardening.
Do an Internet search for “Gardening and Senior Health” and you’ll find article after article extolling the benefits of digging in the soil, planting seeds, pruning and weeding. We liked this article from the website Caregiver Stress.com, called Gardens Brighten Seniors’ Lives. It’s a few years old, but the information is timely and clear: for many seniors gardening can be the key to both physical and mental well-being.
Anyone who loves gardening – an estimated three out of four Americans – knows that part of the benefit is emotional. The article quotes Rebecca Kolls, host of a nationally syndicated gardening show on television. Kolls says, “There’s a nurturing aspect in gardening where you take a seed and coddle it.” She adds, “Seniors have given up child rearing, so gardening gives them baby plants and seedlings again. It’s a new way of caring for something.”
Then there are the physical benefits of gardening. Thanks to the bending, stretching and kneeling of gardening, you’ll discover health advantages including improved muscle tone, lower blood pressure and a gently increased heart rate. Another article cited the benefits of activities like planting seeds, pulling weeds, and pruning flowers, calling them “great occupational therapy activities.” Seniors who rake leaves or plant trees and shrubs enjoy improved balance better heart health. (Of course you should check with your doctor before you begin physical activity.)
If there are so many benefits, why don’t more seniors garden? Many feel they no longer can, because of increasing frailty. But one of the wonders of gardening is that the gardener can still enjoy the seeds and the soil and the flowers even if the garden is a tiny plot, a window box or a pot on a deck or patio. If you’re interested in learning how seniors can keep on enjoying the relaxation, the joy and the beauty (not to mention the health benefits) of gardening, here’s another article you’ll find helpful: it’s called Gardening Tips for Seniors. Click on the title to read the piece.
Our goal here at Aging Options is to counsel our clients in every aspect of a healthy, secure retirement. That includes maintaining your independence as long as you can, so that you can enjoy the quality of life you’ve always dreamed about as you age. Your physical health is, of course, just one aspect of a retirement plan that can stand the test of time: you’ll also need to consider your housing options, your legal affairs, your family dynamics and your financial preparations.
Sound complicated? It doesn’t have to be, when you have the right guide to help you prepare your plan. For a perfect way to find out more information, plan to attend one of our free LifePlanning Seminars, held throughout the area. Click on the Upcoming Events tab for dates and times. Or if you prefer a personal appointment, contact us. It will be our pleasure to work with you to plant the seeds for a fruitful retirement plan.
(Originally reported at www.caregiverstress.com)