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How Working in a Garden Can Help Relieve Elderly Stress

By Debbie Waddell, 10:30 am on

Stress levels are often directly related to a senior’s overall wellbeing, making it important to develop strategies to keep these emotions at bay. Many aging adults turn to gardening for this purpose. Tending to a garden is a holistic way for your elderly loved one to keep his or her mind, body, and soul healthy while reducing stress. The staff at Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of elderly care in Placer County, Granite Bay, and Folsom, discusses some of the ways gardening can have this effect.

Stimulates the Mind

Creating a garden plan and working with the landscape inspires a high level of sensory awareness, learning, and problem solving. Whether your loved one is deciding how to amend the soil to promote optimal growth or devising a cover for crops in the wetter months, he or she is learning new skills. These skills sharpen the mind and expand attention spans. By utilizing the mind in new ways, your loved one can gain fresh perspective on how to manage stress in everyday life.

Keeps the Body Active and Healthy

Staying active plays an important role in relieving stress. Many gardening activities, including planting, watering, weeding, and digging, all offer opportunities for your loved one to stretch and strengthen his or her body through low-impact exercise. This helps fight osteoporosis and lower blood pressure. Gardening has also been shown to lower cortisol levels, also known as the stress hormone.

The benefits of producing and eating healthy foods are numerous, including stress relief. Fruits and vegetables are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber known to reduce stress. Green leafy vegetables like spinach have high amounts of folate, which stimulates the production of dopamine and serotonin, neurotransmitters that regulate mood. Also, soil contains “friendly” bacteria called Mycobacterium vaccae, which encourages serotonin production and fights depression.

Replenishes the Soul

Gardening can offer your loved one a tangible connection to the present moment. By paying attention to the sensory experience of brightly colored leaves, the potent fragrance of a flower, the sound of singing birds, or the feel of the spongy earth, your loved one is practicing mindfulness, a kind of meditation proven to reduce stress.

If your loved one could use some help in the garden, companionship and physical assistance from a professional caregiver can also alleviate some of his or her stress. At Home Care Assistance, our compassionate caregivers are trained in our proprietary Balanced Care Method, an evidence-based program focused on holistic lifestyle factors that can lead to longer and healthier lives. We also offer comprehensive Alzheimer’s, stroke, and Parkinson’s home care Placer County families can count on. For more information on our senior care services, call one of our friendly Care Managers at 916.226.3737 to request a free in-home consultation.

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