Gardening Has Unique Benefits for Older Adults

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Lely Palms Retirement Community

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Posted on

Jul 21, 2023

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Florida - Southwest

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Gardening is an easy way to remain active throughout life. Planting, watering and tending to a garden is a great way to add activity to your daily routine and reduce the risks brought on by natural aging. The truth is, as we age our likelihood of remaining active decreases and fatigue sets in. With daily exercise and a healthy diet, older adults can avoid losing energy and keep a sharp mind. 

Gardening provides many of these advantages and is an easy and enjoyable way to do so. Whether you decide that the front lawn could use a little color, or you want to see the cooking process from cultivation to the dinner table, gardening leaves the gardener with a feeling of accomplishment and potentially a full belly. 

Keep in mind that you don’t have to know how to garden to participate. There are many resources out there that take beginners step by step from planting to cultivation. Most seed packages even have instructions on the back for planting!

The Benefits of Gardening

There are numerous benefits for starting your own garden, including:

  • Physical benefits: The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate exercise weekly, such as gardening, to reduce the risk of cardiovascular issues. An activity such as gardening helps promote flexibility, endurance and strength and has been used to help improve range of motion and coordination.
  • Mental health benefits: Gardening is a great mental workout, as well. It takes resourcefulness and imagination to tend to a garden. Gardening allows time for meditation, personal reflection and daydreaming that can help reduce stress and anxiety. Gardeners often experience feelings of accomplishment and creativity by producing something that they helped nurture for an extended period of time.
  • Nutritional benefits: When gardening crops, keep in mind that eating organic produce is just plain good for you. Fresh produce is not only high in vitamins and minerals but is also low in calories. Certain nutrients found in fresh organically produced foods can aid in disease prevention.
  • Benefits of Nature: Benefits of being engaged in nature include better mood, sounder sleep, reduced risk of obesity and increased self-esteem through increased activity and decreased stress.
  • Relationship benefits: Gardening is also a great activity to bring the family closer. Try teaching a child or grandchild how to plant and water seeds in your garden. Time spent with family can be the best benefit of all.

Gardening Safely

As we age, it’s important to remember that even though gardening is a pleasurable and rewarding way to get physical activity, it does come with risks that need to be considered before digging in. Bugs, uneven ground, muscle strain, dangerous tools and chemicals are all problems that could arise when you are putting your green thumb to work.

Here are some tips to ensure you enjoy gardening without stress or injury:

  • Wear protective gear such as goggles, gloves, ear plugs, sturdy shoes, long pants and long sleeves.
  • Use insect repellent to protect yourself from mosquitoes and ticks. 
  • Wear sunscreen to reduce your risk of sunburn and skin cancer.
  • Keep harmful chemicals out of the reach of children. 
  • Sharpen tools carefully.
  • Follow instructions closely when using chemicals and equipment.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.
  • Take breaks often.
  • Lift with your knees.
  • Consider using knee pads, a stool or a chair when working low to the ground.

Gardening may seem like a lot of work, but the fruits of your labor will make the time you spend in the garden worth it. The vibrant colors bursting from the ground and the butterflies and bumble bees frolicking through the flowers are sure to bring a smile to your face, even on grey summer days.

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Fun, Easy activities for Seniors in Colorado

Colorado, renowned for its breathtaking landscapes and vibrant communities, offers a plethora of activities tailored specifically for seniors. From outdoor adventures to cultural experiences and wellness programs, the state provides numerous opportunities for older adults to stay active, engaged, and healthy. This guide explores some of the best activities for seniors in Colorado, ensuring a fulfilling and enriching lifestyle.1. Outdoor AdventuresHiking and Walking TrailsColorado boasts an extensive network of hiking and walking trails suitable for seniors of all fitness levels. The Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, with its stunning red rock formations and easy walking paths, is a popular choice. Similarly, the Boulder Creek Path in Boulder offers a scenic, flat route perfect for a leisurely stroll.For more information, visit the Colorado Trails Explorer website. Bird WatchingWith diverse habitats ranging from grasslands to alpine regions, Colorado is a bird watchers paradise. Seniors can join local bird watching groups or visit hotspots like the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge near Denver, which is home to over 330 species of birds.Learn more at the Colorado Birding Trail website.2. Cultural ExperiencesMuseums and Art GalleriesColorados rich cultural scene is accessible to seniors who enjoy museums and art galleries. The Denver Art Museum, with its senior-friendly programs and exhibitions, is a must-visit. Additionally, the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum offers insights into the states history with senior discounts available.For upcoming exhibits, check out the Denver Art Museum and Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum websites. Theater and Performing ArtsThe states vibrant performing arts scene includes senior-friendly venues like the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, which hosts Broadway shows, concerts, and more. The Colorado Shakespeare Festival in Boulder is another excellent option for seniors who enjoy live theater.Find more details at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts and Colorado Shakespeare Festival websites.3. Wellness and Fitness ProgramsSenior Fitness ClassesMany community centers and gyms in Colorado offer fitness classes designed specifically for seniors. SilverSneakers, a popular fitness program for older adults, is available in numerous locations across the state. These classes focus on strength, flexibility, and balance, catering to various fitness levels.To find a class near you, visit SilverSneakers.com.Yoga and Tai ChiYoga and Tai Chi are excellent for seniors seeking gentle exercise that enhances flexibility, balance, and mental well-being. Studios like Yoga Pod in Boulder and Tai Chi Colorado Springs provide classes specifically tailored for older adults.Explore more at Yoga Pod Boulder and Tai Chi Colorado Springs websites.4. Social and Recreational ActivitiesSenior CentersSenior centers across Colorado offer a wide range of activities, including games, social events, and educational classes. The Fort Collins Senior Center, for instance, provides everything from art workshops to dance classes, ensuring a lively and engaging environment for seniors.Discover more at the Fort Collins Senior Center website.Volunteering OpportunitiesMany seniors find fulfillment in volunteering, and Colorado has numerous opportunities for those who wish to give back to the community. Organizations like Volunteers of America Colorado and the Denver Botanic Gardens welcome senior volunteers in various capacities.Find volunteering opportunities at Volunteers of America Colorado and Denver Botanic Gardens websites.5. Travel and ExplorationScenic Train RidesFor seniors who prefer a more relaxed way to enjoy Colorados scenery, scenic train rides offer a fantastic option. The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad and the Georgetown Loop Railroad provide unforgettable journeys through the states picturesque landscapes.Book your ride at Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad and Georgetown Loop Railroad websites. Hot SpringsColorados hot springs are perfect for seniors seeking relaxation and therapeutic benefits. Locations like Glenwood Hot Springs and Mount Princeton Hot Springs offer serene environments where seniors can unwind and rejuvenate.Plan your visit to Glenwood Hot Springs and Mount Princeton Hot Springs websites.6. Educational ProgramsLifelong LearningSeniors in Colorado have access to numerous lifelong learning opportunities. Universities like Colorado State University and the University of Colorado offer programs and courses specifically designed for older adults, covering a wide range of subjects from history to technology.Explore lifelong learning at Colorado State University and University of Colorado Boulder.LibrariesLibraries in Colorado provide more than just books; they offer various programs and workshops for seniors. The Denver Public Library, for example, hosts book clubs, technology classes, and cultural events tailored to older adults.Visit the Denver Public Library for more information.ConclusionColorados diverse array of activities ensures that seniors can find something to suit their interests and abilities. Whether its exploring the great outdoors, engaging in cultural pursuits, participating in fitness programs, or continuing education, the state offers countless opportunities for seniors to lead an active, fulfilling life. By taking advantage of these resources, older adults in Colorado can enjoy a rich and vibrant lifestyle.

Five Fun Out-of-the-Box Experiences to Enjoy with Your Older Parents

Tired of the same familiar activities with your parents? It might be time to try something different. The experts at Naborforce, an on-demand service for seniors, have come up with a list of exciting activities to spend time with older parents:Glass-Blowing Session A glass-blowing session might be the last thing you would expect from a senior outing, but here at Naborforce, weve seen this as one of the most exciting experiences weve had on our platform! Make sure you research your host, as glass blowing instructions can vary. We partnered with The Glass Spot RVA, which had step-by-step guidance that resulted in a beautiful finished product, prompting our client to call it A Million Dollar Day. Dance Class for SeniorsWhat can be more fun than dancing in the middle of the day? This could be a great activity to do with Mom- whether its salsa or tap, she will have something to talk about for days. Plus, dance classes are a great way to encourage fun and active aging. Research by the National Institute on Aging shows that movement in older age strengthens the mind, which potentially delays the onset of certain debilitating diseases. Here at Naborforce, weve had our fair share of dance classes. Just the other day, one of our community members took our client to a line dancing class at Pine Camp Community Center in Richmond, VA. An Art Class Outing or At-Home Project Art expression is such a great way to calm the mind, hone in on creative skills and create new memories, essential components for independent aging. You might already know of an art class in your area or senior living community, but have you ever tried setting up something at home? Kits sold by Artful Aging are in-home watercolor packages that also come with instructional videos, perfect for senior DIY-ers!Build-A-Bear Workshop OutingIt might be a while since youve stepped foot inside a Build-A-Bear Workshop, where you can customize a stuffed animal with your personal preferences, down to including a note embedded in the toy! We love Build-A-Bear as an activity for older parents, mainly because we saw the impact during one of our Naborforce visits. Our client wanted to customize a teddy bear for his wife. He booked a Naborforce visit to accompany him to Build-A-Bear, where he recorded a heartwarming note in a voice box inside the bear. To this day, our clients wife cherishes this gift as a reminder of their love and connection.An Evening at the MuseumAfter youve tried an art class at home (see out-of-the-box idea #2), maybe its time to hone your art skills by going to a museum. Check out the events calendar at your local art museum to see if there are any special offerings or exhibitions.  As an example, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts offers many adult classes. If walking too much is a concern for your loved one, know that many places might offer wheelchair assistance. Plus, in the summer the local museum is a great way to cool down!

Ken Faces Two Fears with a Flight to the Ocean

We all have fears in our lives, and at certain times, most of us would admit that theyve held us back from doing something we wanted.But, when it comes to fear, theres also a silver lining: the feeling of overcoming it and moving forward. And from that day forward, that personal victorythat sense of accomplishment is something we can turn to whenever we need some extra courage.Ken, age 70, is no stranger to adversity and fear. And in this season of his life, hes been reflecting on his fears and is no longer content letting them hold him back.One fear has been with him since he was young. Kens family lived close to an airport while he was growing up. Standing in his backyard, he would look up and marvel at the airplanes coming and going all day long. He wondered what it would be like to be inside one of these planes, looking out the window and floating through the clouds. But paired with his curiosity, a sense of fear was also growing inside him.This fear of heights and flying has followed Ken into adulthood. Adulthood came early for Ken, as hes been working hard to provide for himself and his family for as long as he can remember. In fact, Ken was already working at age 12.Ken had a job in a state park close to his home. One day, while Ken was helping remove debris in the park, a falling tree knocked him into the water. Ken was stuck, and he remained submerged until he was rescued.It was a terrifying moment that has stayed with him since that day, resulting in a deep fear of water.Its true that Ken has faced many obstacles and heartbreak throughout his life. But hes never allowed that to stop him from working hard, especially when it comes to providing for others. Ken is proud to have raised a family, including adopting two children with his wife, Elizabeth. He shared that this has made him the proudest and happiest hes ever been.Those who know Ken well would tell you hes the kind of person who shows he cares through his actions. Like how he mowed his mothers lawn for over a decade, caring for her until she passed away three years ago.Ken was everyones favorite BINGO caller at his local church and would help them with maintenance and by fixing things whenever he could. The same goes for any neighbor or friendall they had to do was ask, and Ken would be there.Kens dedication and generosity have kept him continually working, and not having many opportunities to do something meaningful for himself. But, recently, Ken has expressed the urge to conquer his fears.When Wish of a Lifetime heard Kens story, we were honored at the chance to help him take some time for himselfand to face his fears in the process by flying on a commercial flight for the first time.When asked what this experience would mean to him, Ken said, Id be happyId get to do something I never did and face my fear of going high.But thats not the only fear Ken would face during his wish of a lifetime!Every flight must have a destination, and Kens was the ocean. Ken was thrilled to share this special trip with his wife Elizabeth. Together, they flew from Pennsylvania all the way to Florida, landing in Tampa.Kens first time on an airplane was positive, and he said the flight felt like riding in a Cadillacit was so smooth.After they arrived at sunny Clearwater Beach, they could see the glittering, white sand welcoming them. Hand in hand, Ken and Elizabeth walked across the beach, taking in all the sights and smells of the ocean.I think he was amazed, Elizabeth said, describing the moment when Ken saw the ocean for the first time in his life. With deep emotion breaking up her voice, she expressed how much the experience meant to them both.Thank you guys very much, I dont know how to express the thank you, I really enjoyed it, she said.As he stood with the tide tickling his feet, Ken felt the warmth of the sunshine on his back, but also the glow of pride from within him.I feel this would make me fulfilled that I overcame two lifelong fears, he said.Reflecting on his wish, Ken said he hoped his story could help others to do the same, at any age. And, to keep hope alive, even through challenging times:Keep your nose to the grindstone, he said. Someday, something good will happen.

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