With spring finally arriving, it’s the perfect time to explore the positive effects of gardening for those with Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
Not only does gardening provide a positive leisurely pass time for seniors and those with AD, according to scientists at Kansas State University; performing moderate exercise from gardening results in an improvement in strength endurance and coordination in senior adults. Improvements in overall flexibility and motor skills were noted in the study, as well as an increase in the strength in gardener’s hands. The study stated that gardeners can actually burn approximately 250-350 calories per day while undertaking this outdoor endeavor.
Other positive results from gardening for seniors includes; positive rewards on an emotional level from nurturing plants and spending time outside, a sense of accomplishment (as a result of seeing the fruits of their labor when it comes to growing a garden), as well as an increase in mood and improvement in sleep patterns-most likely due to the positive effects of vitamin D from sunlight. Some horticulturists even say that gardening can improve cognition as a result of following directions to complete tasks.
Here are some safety tips for seniors who plan to reap the benefits of gardening this spring;
•Be aware that elderly folks are more sensitive to sunlight and their skin burns easier than younger adults, so limit the amount of time he/she is out in the direct sun and use sunscreen as directed by the physician.
•Ensure that your senior loved one wears lightweight long sleeved tops, sun glasses and a hat to protect the skin, eyes and head from the effects of too much sun.
•Avoid back injuries caused by stooping over and lifting heavy items such as potted plants.
•Check walking paths for uneven surfaces and clear the area to prevent tripping hazards.
•Avoid gardening during peak sun timespans during the day-usually between ten a.m. and two p.m.
Learn more about activity recommended for seniors with AD by CLICKING HERE to join our 25 lesson course at AlzU.org.