As you get older, it can often be hard to find quality help for the many little tasks that make life comfortable and free from worry. Sometimes the best gift you can give to a friend or family member who’s a mature adult is your time – time to take care of those little tasks or even implement small solutions that your loved one may not have thought about.
Why not give someone a handmade gift certificatefor some of your time? It’s easy, inexpensive, and can be cherished by the recipient far more than an expensive gift.
Here are five ways you can add a little landscape ease for someone you care about, starting with outdoor safety, the guiding element of Elderyarding®:
1. Offer to take a safety inventory, then fix what’s found during the inventory.
Ask the homeowner to walk around the yard with you. Ask whether they can easily see the edges of steps or if painting the edges in a contrasting color would be useful. Point out that many people are now marking steps as a design feature that ties the steps and house together. Suggest a color that works with the trim on the house or shades of green in the garden and ask their opinion. If the lack of visibility seems to be worse at night, consider a fluorescent paint.
Check pathways for potential surface shifts that can cause the homeowner to trip and fall. These might just need a small repair, such as re-laying pavers, or it might require a new surface, such as changing from gravel to concrete or asphalt in the storage area for trash cans. Also consider whether a pathway is wide enough if the person now uses a cane or a walker.
2. Offer to take your friend or family member garden shopping.
For containers, lighter weight hoses, automatic hose reels, or ergonomic tools. When new products are brought home, get them installed right away so they can be used. There’s nothing worse than the excitement of having a new product that solves a problem, and you have to wait for help to get the new product settled in!
If the safety inventory identified a need for more lighting to provide adequate visibility around the house and in the garden during low light or darkness hours, prioritize this installation work. It can make an enormous difference in actual safety and in sense of safety for someone with aging eyesight.
3. Offer to plant, weed or rake.
If your loved one has been thinking about shifting plants to containers on the porch or patio, you can do the squatting and bending and lifting to move existing or newly purchased nursery plants into the right pots. You can also make sure that any adaptations for watering are set up, whether it’s new coiled hoses and watering wands for the patio, drippers for hanging baskets, and changes to an irrigation system in the yard.
4. Offer to supervise planting or other yard work.
If the plan is to make changes in the landscape beds and layout, find out whether the landscape contractor is someone who has already worked on the yard or is new. Serving as the liaison between homeowner and landscapers is often welcome because of the continual back-and-forth movement involved. This can be vital whether the plan is a new design for the yard, changing out old plants, pruning or installation of new hardscape such as concrete sidewalks. You can make sure that directions are clear, inspect new plants before planting, collect the homeowner’s feedback about how the changes look from inside the house, even get those surplus bags of mulch spread, then review the work before sign-off and payment is done.
5. Offer to organize.
There’s a reason professional organizers are popular! It’s true for the garden just as much as for closets or paperwork inside a house. Tools and equipment, watering systems, and all the clutter that can accumulate for a yard may need to be sorted. Old items, such as expired paints, ancient fertilizers in weathered containers, bags of herbicide that have gotten wet and become as hard as cement can be eliminated. Create fresh labels and readable directions for necessary gardening products. Mark the handles of small tools like trowels with red or yellow tape or paint them in a fluorescent color so they are less easily lost. A tool shed can be reorganized simply with plastic bins to collect similar items, with hinges oiled, the lock greased, and replacement screws used to seat a loose door handle.
Whether you offer one chunk of time or break your offer into smaller segments of a few hours here and there, spending time in this way clearly shows how much you care. It’s much appreciated by the recipient.
Previous posts you might like: