Gardening is a favorite activity among seniors that provides a sense of enjoyment along with a daily dose of physical activity. Now, a recent study by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital has demonstrated that a home garden can do more than just add beauty to the environment. Their findings showed that senior adults who lived near vegetation had a 12 percent lower mortality rate than those who did not, and here, New Hampshire home care professionals offer a few possible reasons for a garden’s impact upon longevity.
Improved Mental Health
Spending time outdoors has a mood-lifting effect. Between the fresh air, sunshine and soothing green color of vegetation, it is no wonder that seniors who go outside every day experience less depression. Tending a garden also gives seniors a sense of purpose that will encourage them to take care of other aspects of their health.
Increased Social Engagement
Home gardening is rarely a solitary pursuit. Seniors who garden can find other plant enthusiasts to trade tips with, and those who grow produce can share the fruits of their labor with family and friends. Simply being outside will also put seniors in the perfect place to enjoy a quick chat with a neighbor who happens to be passing by.
Reduced Exposure to Pollutants
Plants are natural air filters that can remove toxins while replenishing oxygen. This could explain why the seniors in the study living near vegetation had fewer incidences of respiratory disease and cancer than those who lived in urban areas. Seniors who plant edibles and use natural fertilizer and pest control methods can also reduce the amount of chemicals they consume in their diet.
Renewed Focus on Eating Healthy and Exercising
Taking a walk in the garden is an enjoyable form of exercise that can help seniors stay active. Bending and kneeling to reach plants also helps to keep a senior’s joints limber and will increase their range of motion. It is also known that seniors who grow their own food are more likely to eat a varied diet that is full of healthy fruits and vegetables that can also promote longevity.
While we are known for our dementia care New Hampshire families trust, we also offer flexible part-time care for seniors who live independently but need a little extra help remaining safe and healthy in the comfort of home. Learn more about how our care services can promote your loved one’s overall wellbeing by calling (603) 471-3004 and requesting a free in-home consultation.