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May 4, 2021

Let Happiness Bloom: The Benefits of Gardening for Seniors

Portrait of mid-adult woman proudly showing her plants
Gardening benefits for older adults

Gardening is one of the world’s most popular pastimes, and it’s not hard to see why. In the spring and summer months, many people enjoy spending time outdoors and reaping the rewards of growing their own flowers, fruits, herbs, and vegetables. But gardening is more than a fun hobby; it can also provide powerful mental, physical, and emotional health benefits that enhance our overall well-being, especially as we get older.

Today, let’s take a look at some of the surprising benefits of gardening for seniors:

Gardening is good exercise

Digging in the soil, pulling weeds, lifting watering cans or soil bags, and other gardening activities are all examples of low-impact exercises that promote strength, flexibility, and mobility. Just 30 minutes of gardening a day can help older adults live a healthier, more active lifestyle.

Gardening relieves stress

Planting a beautiful garden can be a powerful way to reduce stress and lift your spirits. Being out in the sunshine provides a natural source of vitamin D, which plays an important role in mood regulation. Combine that with the satisfaction and pride of seeing plants grow from seeds, and you have a great recipe for stress relief.

Gardening boosts brain health

Taking care of plants is also a positive way to help preserve and even improve our cognitive function as we get older. Studies show that regular gardening can reduce the risk factors for dementia by up to 36%. Gardening and being in nature are often used as therapeutic activities for people living with dementia to provide sensory stimulation and an enhanced quality of life.

Gardening can be a social activity

While gardening is often considered an independent hobby, it can also create opportunities to make new friends and stay socially active in retirement. You could join a local garden club to connect with other “green thumbs” or admire neighborhood gardens from afar while taking walks with a friend. Plant swaps are another popular social activity for new and seasoned gardeners alike!

Get gardening tips from the experts!

At Bethany Village, we recognize the many mental, physical, and social benefits of gardening and being surrounded by nature. Our retirement community features breathtaking views of nature and beautiful walking paths throughout the 100-acre campus. Many of our independent living residents enjoy gardening and tending to potted plants on their patios.

Whether you’re new to gardening or you’re looking for plant advice, mark your calendar for our next Facebook Live event from Smith Gardens in Oakwood! We’ll be joined by Carol Collins, Leisure Services Director for the City of Oakwood, and her brother, Bill Collins, a former head horticulturist, who will share tips on how to start a porch garden and keep potted plants thriving all summer long! Find out more here.