Gardens can do wonders for both children and seniors. Taking care of plants has a way of giving back to both the mind and body.
How can gardens be enriching to older and younger generations? Team OBN will answer that question below and provide a guide on designing a garden suited for all ages.
- 1 How Gardening Enrich Seniors
- 2 How Gardens Enrich Children
- 3 Designing a Senior/Children Friendly Garden
- 3.1 Choosing the Right Location
- 3.2 Selecting Easy-to-Manage Plants
- 3.3 Incorporating Raised Beds and Planters
- 3.4 Ensuring Safe and Accessible Pathways
- 3.5 Adding Engaging Sensory Elements
- 3.6 Making Room for Social Spaces
- 3.7 Prioritizing Safety Features
- 3.8 Including Educational Elements
- 3.9 Focusing on Low-Maintenance Care
- 3.10 Adapting to Seasonal Changes
- 3.11 Invest in Child/Senior Friendly Garden Tools
- 4 Conclusion
How Gardening Enrich Seniors
Keeping Your Wits Sharp
You might find your new best friend in a garden if you’re a senior. Gardening is like a mental gym. When you garden, you’re always planning. “Where should this plant go? Does it need more sun?” This kind of planning isn’t just busy work. According to the National Institutes of Health, exposure to plants or green spaces removes the mental pressure, which helps you focus.
Memory is a big winner when you garden. Remembering to water the plants or add fertilizer is like doing push-ups for your brain. Keeping your brain active with garden activities decreases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. The disease was seen to affect inactive people.
Making Your Joints Limber
Gardening is also a great way to keep your body fit. Digging, planting, and even walking in the garden are moderate exercises. Adding physical activity to your daily routine can keep you healthy and relieve insomnia.
Flexibility is another win. In the garden, you’re always reaching, bending, or kneeling. These kinds of movements keep your joints limber to help you fight arthritis, a disease most seniors have to face now.
Create a Sense of Achievement
Growing your garden is like writing your own story, one petal or leaf at a time. Your joy is immeasurable when you nurture a seed into a blossoming plant. You can compare the feeling of seeing seeds’ development to seeing children grow into proper adults.
Seniors navigating the quieter years of retirement are likely looking for purpose. Gardening gives you that sense of fulfillment you are looking for. You feel pride when you see your efforts and time turn into blossoming plants or edible fruits.
Connect With Families & Friends
Gardening is a great way to socialize with every family member. Everyone is working on the same goal of growing the plants within your house, creating a sense of camaraderie. In addition, a garden provides a common talking point between you and the younger generation. You need to learn what is hip among teenagers when you want to talk with your grandson or granddaughter.
How can being social be beneficial for seniors? Depression is a common sickness among those living during retirement. Those who aren’t being social are at risk of feeling isolated. With gardening, you can boost your emotional well-being.
How Gardens Enrich Children
Increase Physical Activity
A garden is more than just taking care of flowers and plants. It’s a game that comes to life. There are digital games where children do gardening as the objective or as a mini-game. They will participate in this game by bringing gardening to real life and building an active lifestyle.
Remember that we are not just talking about helping children be active. Gardening will encourage children to develop physical habits that can help them throughout life.
Encourage Healthy Eating
Having kids grow their food is like unlocking a secret level in a video game. They become invested. The carrot they pulled out of the ground isn’t just a vegetable; it’s a power-up they use for their body. This changes the dinner game. They’re more likely to eat what they’ve grown, transforming mealtime from a battle to a celebration.
Making kids eat vegetables independently can go a long way for them to stick with a healthy lifestyle. Many adults have difficulty giving up on junk foods because they grew up eating the same thing. Gardening gives kids a better chance to level their health stats by opening their appetite to newer and healthier food.
Kids have to deal with so many issues with their schooling and classmates. It should not be a surprise that many are prone to depression if they are left alone. Gardening gives kids a fighting chance against this negative feeling by providing a sense of purpose.
The same sense of achievement in seeing the seeds grow into blossoming plants can be felt by children. Kids can see how much effort and time spent on a task can result in growing plants. Gardening is much better than gaming for them since the reward is something they can touch and eat.
Designing a Senior/Children Friendly Garden
Gardening for all ages is possible by considering the following factors.
Choosing the Right Location
Picking the right spot for your garden is the first big step. For seniors, it should be close to home to reduce walking distances. For kids, there should be fewer hazards within the garden, like plants with sharp leaves.
Consider the sun or, in this case, the shade. While plants love the sun, very few seniors or children want to be bombarded by its rays for hours. Consider adding shades to the walkway while still your plant full exposure to the sun.
Selecting Easy-to-Manage Plants
When you’re choosing plants, think low-maintenance. Seniors might struggle with fussy plants that need a lot of care. Kids will love quick growers that give speedy rewards. Think sunflowers or cherry tomatoes. Opt for perennials that come back each year with little effort. They’re less work in the long run.
Incorporating Raised Beds and Planters
Raised beds are lifesavers for seniors who need to mind their bodies. They allow anyone to care for plants without risking their back or joints. For kids, raised beds offer a contained space to focus their efforts. Think about adding benches or ledges to sit on while gardening. You can even make them wheelchair accessible.
Ensuring Safe and Accessible Pathways
A senior/kid-friendly garden makes it easy for everyone to go around it. Pathways should be wide and flat to accommodate wheelchairs or walkers. Avoid steps or steep slopes that can be tripping hazards.
Material-wise, think about slip-resistant options like textured concrete or rubber mats. Make sure the paths are clear of tools and toys to prevent accidents. That way, everyone can navigate the garden easily and safely.
Adding Engaging Sensory Elements
Gardens should delight all the senses, not just the eyes. For seniors, this can stir memories and evoke emotions. For children, it’s a rich learning experience. Plant fragrant herbs like lavender or mint. Use bright colors to grab attention.
Add a bird feeder for chirping sounds or a water feature for a soothing backdrop. Textured plants like lamb’s ear can add a tactile element. It’s not just a garden, then; it’s a whole sensory experience that enriches the lives of both the young and the old.
Making Room for Social Spaces
A garden is more than a place for plants; it’s a place for people. Include a seating area where folks can chat or just enjoy the scenery. Benches or picnic tables work well. For kids, maybe add a sandbox or a small play area.
For seniors, a shaded spot with comfy chairs is a must. Think of it as your outdoor living room. It’s a space for relaxation, conversations, and making memories with family and friends.
Prioritizing Safety Features
Safety isn’t just about what to avoid but what to include. For seniors, handrails or grips can offer support. For young ones, fencing can keep them inside the garden and away from dangers like streets. Consider non-toxic plants to prevent accidental ingestion of harmful substances.
Don’t forget about lighting. Well-placed lights make evening walks safer and deter unwelcome visitors. Overall, safety features aren’t hurdles; they’re the framework that allows everyone to enjoy the garden worry-free.
Including Educational Elements
A garden is a living classroom, and that’s true for any age. For seniors, it can be about deepening a lifelong hobby or even starting a new one. For kids, label plants to teach them names and facts.
One idea is to include a weather station to link nature and science to your children’s phones. Your kids will pay attention to news that could affect the garden, such as the changing season or continuous rains. Seniors can also learn about plants and the effects of the weather through these apps.
Another idea is to set up a composting area to teach about sustainability. It’s not just about digging and planting; it’s about lifelong learning that keeps the mind engaged and curious.
Focusing on Low-Maintenance Care
Easy care means more time for enjoyment. For seniors, this could mean choosing drought-resistant plants that don’t need frequent watering. Automatic watering systems can be a fun project that reduces chores for kids. Mulch can cut down on weeds and reduce watering needs.
Think about plants that naturally repel pests to reduce the need for chemicals. The goal is a garden that’s beautiful but also easy to manage, leaving more time for the fun parts of gardening.
Adapting to Seasonal Changes
Each season brings its charm and challenges. For seniors, winter can make outdoor gardening hard. Think about indoor options like window planters. For kids, seasonal projects like planting spring bulbs or making fall leaf art can keep interest high year-round.
Protective covers can extend growing seasons for specific plants. Understanding that a garden isn’t static but a changing space can make it more engaging and enjoyable for everyone, regardless of age.
Invest in Child/Senior Friendly Garden Tools
The right tools can make gardening easy for seniors and the activity safe for children. For seniors, go for devices that are easy to hold. Padded handles are a win because they’re easier on the hands and wrists.
Consider lightweight tools that allow seniors to prune or water the garden without putting plenty of strain on their hands or back. For kids, think smaller. Small-sized devices are easier for them to handle and use.
Gardens can impact seniors’ and children’s physical, mental, and emotional health. Caring for plants can enrich the lives of retirees who want to expand their years. At the same time, plant management helps children build healthier and engaging habits.
When planning your garden, Team Ideas24 reminds you to prioritize safety for seniors and children.