One of the issues so many seniors face upon retirement is that they lack something to do to fill their time. After so many years of figuratively, if not literally, punching the clock, having nothing to do can be the worst feeling on earth. For this reason, it is often suggested that they take up gardening. It’s something to do to fill those vacant hours and with several other benefits as well. Let’s explore four of them now.
1. Reduced Onset of Dementia
One Australian group in Dubbo looked at why seniors in their region are living years longer than in previous generations. They found that there was an astounding 36% reduced risk of the onset of dementia within seniors who gardened daily. That, in itself, should lead literally every senior who is able to get around to begin gardening – yesterday if possible! With dementia a significant ‘fear’ within the aging population, this should be the impetus of starting more gardening groups for seniors everywhere on earth! In fact, the assisted living Marshfield WI gardening for seniors at Pathway to Living is really onto something. It’s amazing what you can learn about how Mother Earth has much of what it takes to stay mentally, as well as physically, fit.
2. Enhanced Immunity
While we often believe that dirt is something that leads to illness, it isn’t always the case. Did you know that one ‘friendly’ bacteria, mycobacterium vaccae, can help to relieve symptoms related to such things as psoriasis, asthma, allergies and even depression? Yes, by all means wash your hands after a gardening activity, but don’t fear a little dirt either.
3. Stress Reduction
As with any hobby or bit of physical activity, gardening can be a great source of stress reduction. Not only is it invigorating to watch those tiny seeds sprout into seedlings and then produce plants of all sorts, but the actual process of gardening takes focus, a known deterrent to stress. As is the case with mindfulness training, keeping the brain focused can give it less time to think about things that are stressful. Watching nature at its best is something uplifting as well. If you’ve found yourself falling prey to stress, try your hand at gardening.
4. A Shared Sense of Community
Then, when you join a gardening club or community gardening group, you get that feeling of belonging again. This is something that many seniors truly miss – that sense of belonging. They are no longer working and probably have few friends still left around that they can socialize with. Community gardening is a way to get together with peers sharing common interests and that is what so many seniors are truly lacking.
Even seniors with mobility issues can do a bit of home gardening. They can sit at the kitchen table to plant a window box herb garden. They can even participate in community gardens because they can be the keepers of the germinating seeds. As they sprout, they can be planted in small cups until they harden enough to be brought outdoors. Gardening is truly fun, and even more so if it yields food for the table. How enriching is that?