More than just a hobby to pass the time, gardening is a satisfying activity that provides ways for seniors to enjoy working with natural elements and a purpose in caring for plants.
Gardening requires forward thinking. Seniors who wish to garden have to determine the type of plants they'd prefer to handle — such as houseplants, vegetables or flowers — what they would like to achieve through gardening and how best to accomplish these goals.
As seniors work toward seeing their plans come to fruition, they are engaged mentally and physically. The anticipation of watching plants grow naturally bolsters hope for future events. All of these are vital ingredients to good overall health and can improve a senior's daily quality of life.
If individuals around Hickory Villa are interested in using gardening to enrich their lives and the lives of those around them, but aren't sure how to get started, here are a few ideas to give them inspiration.
Omaha is home to many community gardens. Seniors can volunteer to help maintain neighborhood plots, which provide food for many families around the city. This can be a good choice for seniors who might not want to commit to managing a garden on their own but do want to enjoy tending plants once in a while.
The Douglas County Health Department's website has many links on community gardens, food pantries that accept produce and farmer's markets. These opportunities let seniors get hands on with their own health and nutrition and provides the chance to extend a hand to local families in need.
Seniors can also rent an area and grow their own garden. This lets them pick plants according to their needs and desires, such as low-maintenance varieties or vegetables that are used in a favorite recipe.
Cut flowers that hold up well in a vase are also good choices for seniors to grow because they can be brought home to enjoy in assisted living apartments or given as gifts to friends and family.
A sunny windowsill or a few plant lights are often all a senior needs to bring their favorite hobby indoors. Some vegetables grow surprisingly well in containers, including lettuce, spinach and baby carrots, and others can be managed with a little extra research and care.
African violets, spider plants and pothos are simple and rewarding houseplants to grow, and they propagate quickly, so seniors can share their favorites with friends.
Another way seniors can use an indoor garden to bless others is to grow herbs. Fresh mint and balm leaves make delicious teas when steeped in hot water. These homemade teas can be a delightful addition to Bible studies or book club meetings.
If a friend is feeling under the weather or unhappy, then a bundle of tea leaves may be the perfect gift to make them smile, especially if seniors offer to join them for a cup and a conversation. This can also be a wonderful way for seniors to break the ice and welcome a new resident to Hickory Villa.
Many savory herbs also grow well in pots and can be harvested and dried as the plants grow. Seniors can use this supply to give as presents during the holidays or to treat neighbors to healthy seasonings throughout the year.