Garden smarter, not harder
Soaking up healthy doses of sunlight and meaningful physical activity are just a couple of the many benefits of gardening. As we grow older gardening can feel more strenuous, and less enjoyable than we remember. With wisdom gained by experience, gardening can continue to be an activity to enjoy well into later years. It is simply a matter of gardening smarter, not harder.
How does gardening help mature gardeners bloom?
Maintaining a garden commits us to regular physical activity. It requires strength and agility. Gardening often calls on perseverance and endurance.
Here are some of the benefits that regular gardening delivers in abundance. Gardening helps us:
- Maintain our agility, strength and mobility
- Eat fresh, healthy produce straight from our garden
- Keep our motor skills dexterous
- Absorb UVB rays, helping our bodies produce essential Vitamin D
- Sleep better by absorbing natural sunlight through the day maintaining our natural circadian rhythm
- Sleep better by burning energy through the day, for a restful night
- Practice being mindful by staying focused on the task in front of you
- Keep our minds active. Problem solving has always featured in my gardening efforts, either finding solutions to garden problems, or sorting out life problems while I garden!
- Connect with our neighbours if we’re working in the front yard!
What challenges can mature gardeners face?
As our physical bodies endure the wear and tear of our 55 plus years, the challenges faced vary in intensity from person to person, and can include:
- A decline in agility meaning bending, kneeling, climbing ladders and reaching can be uncomfortable, painful or not possible
- A decline in strength can pose a barrier for landscaping overhauls where heavy lifting is required
- Weaker skin that doesn’t stand up as well to cuts, knocks and abrasions, or is more sensitive to the sunlight’s penetrating UVA rays
- The cost of garden maintenance can become prohibitive when you are no longer in paid employment.
- The larger your garden the higher the cost becomes to maintain it in terms of dollars, time and physical endurance.
If you’re too young, or too healthy to have experienced any of these challenges yet, well done! Keep doing what you’re doing, it’s working so far.
However there will come a time – hopefully way further down the track - when physical, mental or cost restraints will affect your ability to maintain a family sized garden and yard.
The good news is, with health on our side, many of us will be able to enjoy gardening well into our later years.
Enjoy gardening well into your later years. Here’s how.
One of the most common concerns that Retirement Communities Australia sales staff hears when they talk to prospective retirement village residents and their family members, is that maintaining a large home and garden is simply getting too hard.
Choosing a retirement village lifestyle means being able to enjoy gardening a more manageable sized plot, and reducing home and property maintenance commitments. This means freeing up spare time to indulge in less physically and economically demanding activities and interests.
Once you reduce the size of your garden to a comfortable hobby rather than a mammoth commitment, here are some tips and tricks to see you gardening for years to come:
- Plan out a low maintenance, enjoyably manageable garden
- Consider planting in raised garden beds, or large pots, to reduce the amount of bending and kneeling required. It is also far easier to manage weeds and aggressive grasses in a raised garden bed.
- If you decide to landscape using large pots, consider looking into building a platform with wheels to sit the pots on so you can easily move them around as you want to.
- Plan some clever shading solutions that give you the option to garden throughout the day and choose shady spots to work in.
- Kneeling mats, knee protectors, light weight gardening tools and durable gardening gloves are a wise investment at any age!
- Vertical gardens are a popular low maintenance option that reduces the need for kneeling and bending. The set up will take some work, but once it gets going you’ll wish you’d set one up years ago.
Keep gardening. It’s good for you!
Come and visit our gardens
If you are interested in taking a good peek at what retirement village living looks and feels like, come and visit one of our latest retirement villages:
It’s never too early to plan a fulfilling future.