What if you could garden for health as an option to age well? Ergonomic garden tools, specialty faucet handles and sprinkler as well as hose controls make it possible to enjoy yard work even when the stiffness of arthritis in your hands or knees threatens to keep you indoors. Studies show that clipping the lantana and fertilizing the marigolds can be therapeutic for your state of mind, helping you manage stress and age well. In addition, gardening is good exercise and just plain fun.
- Elevate the pothos vine. When bending and kneeling are getting too painful, consider elevated flowerbeds. Sitting down comfortably on a chair, you can clip, snip and fertilize the flowers to your heart’s content. Even containers have gotten into the act, with new frame designs to lift containers for seated senior gardeners.
- Adaptive tools do the trick. Give your arthritic knees a break with long-handle gardening tools. Look for tools especially made for active older adults or purchase grip extensions that adapt the tools you already have. For sore wrists and finger joints, rely on tools with large but soft handles.
- Change your garden layout. Watering is a huge part of daily gardening. Even if you have a well-planned sprinkler system in place, some areas of the garden always require special attention. Consider re-organizing a flowerbed or two so plants that require a lot of water can be closer to the spigot. This allows you to work with a short hose that is more convenient to move.
- Revamp your plant selection. When you want to avoid hand-watering altogether, exchange some of your plants for those that grow particularly well in your area. Think of native plants that are happy with less water. And you could trial some new plants. Succulents and woody lilies like agave and yucca are in plant families that will grow especially well in southern states such as Texas.
Remember that it is healthy to keep moving. While arthritis pain may tempt you to stay indoors and forego your beloved gardening, regularly using your joints strengthens the surrounding muscles. Puttering in the garden, you can enjoy being outdoors rather than walking on a treadmill in the gym, and your joints will benefit. What are you doing to continue gardening as you change physically with age? Second Summer stands ready to help.
Like what you read? Share it on Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn!