As a family caregiver, you definitely want to encourage your elderly loved one to develop a hobby that will keep them busy and satisfied. It would also be nice if this hobby could entice them outside for some fresh air, sunshine and a little exercise. Gardening can satisfy all those requirements so it may be time to help your loved one set up a low-maintenance garden that they can tend to throughout spring, summer and fall.
Which Containers are Best?
The containers you use for an elderly loved one’s garden really depends them. You’ll be able to find all shapes and sizes that are appropriate for container gardening. Is your loved one in a wheelchair? There are container garden beds that stand up on legs that would be just right for them. Are they fairly mobile? Then setting a stool next to some large pots would work well. Average containers can be set on an outdoor table in a sunny spot, bringing the plants to waist height for easy care.
Before planting, make sure the containers have holes in them for proper drainage and are filled with a potting soil especially formulated for vegetables and flowers. Some potting soil mixes already have fertilizer included within them, making it even easier to apply. Then, all your elderly loved one needs is some garden gloves, a watering can, and their choice of the best container garden plants.
Which Plants are Best?
If your elderly loved one is interested in growing vegetables, they are in luck because there are so many that thrive in containers. Among the best and most popular container garden veggies are cherry tomatoes, strawberries, sweet peppers, spinach, cucumbers, lettuce, radishes, carrots and sugar snap peas. Don’t forget fresh herbs such as basil, parsley, oregano, cilantro, rosemary and chives.
For those that love flowers, container gardening is ideal. There are so many to choose from that it might be a little overwhelming. Some of the best low-maintenance plants that provide plenty of blossoms include impatiens, begonias, zinnias, nasturnums, chrysanthemums, geraniums, lavender, marigolds, foxgloves, petunias and roses. Pay attention to which plants need lots of sun and which ones require some shade and help your loved one set up their container garden appropriately.
Senior Garden Tips
There are a few things that family caregivers and home care aides should insist on to make sure elderly loved ones stay safe. Seniors should wear sunscreen and hats to go outdoors to tend to their container garden. Containers should always be placed in areas where they can be easily reached without the elderly person having to stoop, bend or get off-balance. Home care aides and family members should encourage seniors to work outdoors in the morning and evening to enjoy cooler temperatures, and they should always have a water bottle to prevent dehydration.
Your elderly loved one can get a lot of benefits from gardening, such as connecting with nature, stimulating the senses, providing a daily routine, giving them responsibilities and rewarding them with delicious food and lovely flowers.
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