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What Are the Health Benefits of Gardening for Seniors?

senior woman planting flowers in ceramic pots

You may already know that gardening adds splashes of color to your life, but did you know it can also help improve your health?

A natural therapy for seniors, gardening provides a number of benefits, including encouraging an active lifestyle that supports a healthy heart. It’s also good for the brain, improving mood and reducing the risk of stroke and dementia. Not to mention it’s an easy way to get a little outdoor time.

Read on to learn more about the positive aging benefits of home and senior garden activities at a Life Plan Community like Westminster Place.

Five Benefits of Gardening for Seniors

At a senior living community like Westminster Place, convenient services and amenities are a part of the everyday lifestyle, helping you to enjoy life as independently as possible. From woodworking to arts and crafts to wellness programming, there’s something for everyone.

For the seniors with a green thumb, Westminster Place features a year-round greenhouse and a beautiful 40-acre campus with walking paths, formal gardens and fountains.

In this retirement community, you can take advantage of the healthful benefits of gardening. Read more below.

1.    Relieves Stress and Improves Mood

Gardening gives seniors an outlet through which they can exercise responsibility over their own little patch of greenery. This can relieve stress, ultimately improving mood and strengthening one’s sense of self-worth. Gardening also increases serotonin levels, which helps to reduce depression symptoms. Today, “horticulture therapy” has become increasingly popular for these reasons.

Additionally, relieving stress lowers blood pressure, helping to reduce hypertension. The soil itself appears to contain bacteria that unlocks serotonin and thus lowers the level of cortisol (aka the “stress hormone”) in seniors who garden.

2.    Reduces the Risk of Dementia

The cognitive functions encouraged by gardening help keep the mind active. Research shows that daily gardening can lower the risk of dementia by up to 36%, making it great natural therapy for seniors. Thinking about what to plant and how to care for it helps keep the mind sharp while helping maintain motor skills, physical endurance and strength.

3.    Increases Mobility, Boosts Heart Health, and Reduces the Risk of Stroke

Gardening is an excellent form of fun, low-impact exercise., Though it might not seem as vigorous as swimming or biking, the benefits of even light exercise can help slow down the aging process, increase blood flow, and strengthen the heart.

4.    Creates Social Opportunities

The company of friends, family and relatives is an important element of healthy aging for seniors. According to AARP, seniors who have regular social interactions live longer and are in better health than those who feel isolated.

Westminster Place’s gardens and greenhouse provide social opportunities for seniors by providing a place where they can meet new people and interact with friends both old and new.

5.    Improves Bone Health

One of the most important nutrients for the body is vitamin D. While it’s true that foods such as milk and fish provide it, our bodies also make it when we get time in the sun. According to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, vitamin D helps us process “calcium and phosphorus” as well as “reduce cancer cell growth, help control infections and reduce inflammation.” For seniors, strong bones make all the difference.

Remember to stay hydrated, use sunscreen and wear your hat!

Grow Your Green Thumb at Westminster Place

Westminster Place is a Life Plan Community located in charming Evanston, IL. With options for wellness programming and the peace of mind that comes from LifeCare, Westminster Place is the perfect soil in which older adults can put down roots.

Contact us today to learn more about why senior living at Westminster Place might be right for you.