Stress levels are often directly related to a senior’s overall wellbeing, making it important to develop strategies to keep anxiety at bay. Many aging adults turn to gardening for this purpose. Tending to a garden is a wholesome way for your elderly loved one to keep his or her mind, body, and soul healthy while reducing stress. Here are some of the ways gardening can have this effect.
Stimulates the Mind
Creating a garden plan and working with the soil inspire a high level of sensory awareness, learning, and problem solving. Whether your loved one is deciding how to work with the soil to promote optimal growth or devising a cover for plants in the colder months, he or she is learning new skills. These skills sharpen the mind and expand the attention span. By utilizing the mind in new ways, your loved one can gain fresh perspective on how to manage stress in everyday life.
In addition, the scents from a garden can stimulate a senior’s mind. The aromas work directly on the brain to boost memory, and they also regulate the areas in the brain that release hormones such as corticosteroids. As long as these hormones are released regularly, they help the hippocampus and amygdala function, which can combat forgetfulness.
In addition to gardening, there are many other activities with cognitive benefits for seniors, especially those living with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Aging in place can present a few challenges for seniors living with dementia. However, they can still live independently at home with the help of professional dementia care. Denver families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide their elderly loved ones with mental and social stimulation, timely medication reminders, assistance with meal prep, and much more. Our caregivers are available around the clock to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life.
Keeps the Body Active & Healthy
Staying active plays an important role in relieving stress. Many gardening activities, including planting, watering, weeding, and digging, offer opportunities for your loved one to stretch and strengthen his or her body through low-impact exercise. This fights osteoporosis and lowers blood pressure. Gardening has also been shown to lower levels of cortisol, which is known as the stress hormone.
Gardening can be even more beneficial when seniors grow their own food. The benefits of producing and eating healthy foods are numerous, including stress relief. Fruits and vegetables are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber, all of which are known to reduce stress. Green leafy vegetables such as spinach have high amounts of folate, which stimulates the production of dopamine and serotonin, neurotransmitters that regulate mood. Also, soil contains “friendly” bacteria called Mycobacterium vaccae, which encourages serotonin production and fights depression.
Gardening is a wonderful activity for seniors with few physical limitations, but those with limited mobility may need other ways to engage in physical activity. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of elder care. You can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide an individualized care plan to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits, such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia.
Replenishes the Soul
Gardening can offer your loved one a tangible connection to the present moment. By paying attention to the sensory stimulation provided by brightly colored leaves, the potent fragrance of flowers, the sound of singing birds, and the feel of the spongy earth, your loved one is practicing mindfulness, a kind of meditation proven to reduce stress. Gardening can silence your loved one’s inner voice as the sounds of nature take over his or her mind, allowing for relaxation and stress relief.
Gardening is just one of the many ways older adults can boost their health and wellbeing. Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional senior care. Denver, CO, Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life. Call one of our friendly Care Managers today at (720) 443-3371 to learn more about our customized care plans.