By offering a space for seniors to meet and be productive, a community garden can give your loved one something to look forward to and help him or her keep a positive outlook. Grand Rapids elder care experts discuss 4 ways joining a community garden can benefit your loved one.
1. Access to Fresh Produce
One of the best reasons for a senior to join a community garden is to increase the amount of produce in the diet. Heading to the store every few days to pick up a fresh batch of fruits and vegetables can be a hassle, an it is also expensive for many seniors. Organic produce grown in a community garden tends to stay fresh for much longer, and your loved one knows there are no dangerous pesticides in the food.
2. Burn Calories and Increase Flexibility
Unlike younger adults who can benefit from strenuous workouts, seniors generally don’t need more than a few minutes of moderate exercise per day. Spending some time tending the garden can gently elevate your loved one’s heart rate as he or she moves, twists, and bends. In addition to helping your loved one control weight, the exercise can also reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis.
3. Get a Dose of Vitamin D
According to the Archives of Internal Medicine, around 45 percent of adults have a vitamin D deficiency. This prevalent health condition has been linked to a long list of diseases and complications, including rickets, osteoporosis, asthma, heart disease, and various forms of cancer. While vitamin D supplements are somewhat effective, your loved one needs to spend just 10 or 15 minutes in the sun every day to get a full dose of this important nutrient. Working in a community garden can help your loved one receive the necessary exposure to sunlight.
4. Receive Social Stimulation
Seniors often shy away from interacting with their peers because they may have a difficult time finding common interests. If your loved one regularly meets other seniors at a community garden, he or she will probably have plenty to talk about while pulling weeds, planting seeds, and harvesting small crops. This type of social stimulation is extremely important for your loved one’s mental health because it has been shown to reduce the risk of depression, dementia, and anxiety.
If your loved one needs encouragement to join a community garden or another community space to socialize, reach out to Home Care Assistance. In addition to helping with household tasks, our caregivers can help your loved one enhance his or her sense of wellbeing by staying active and socializing in the community. We also offer specialized Parkinson’s, dementia, and Alzheimer’s home care Grand Rapids seniors can rely on. For more information on our elderly care services, call 616-243-0835 to speak with a knowledgeable Care Manager.