Gardening as an activity can be enjoyed by everyone – including seniors. Only a few things can be more fulfilling than the experience of planting flowers and other types of plants and nurturing them until they blossom.
Gardening has a lot of health benefits for elderly people who find interest in it. It is a good form of exercise for the elderly, as it involves gentle bending, squatting, and pulling. These activities, though gentle, help to maintain body strength and keeps the blood pumping healthily.
In addition, gardening may help to reduce the risk of dementia in elderly people, as it requires much of hand and eye coordination as well as sensory awareness, all of which are beneficial in old age.
Best Garden Tools for the Elderly: 7 Must-Have Tools
For gardening to be easier and more interesting for seniors, certain tools are necessary. While the market abounds with gardening tools of different types and for various purposes, not all of them are needed by seniors or are suitable for them to use.
In this post, we have put together 7 must-have garden tools for elderly people.
1. Pruning Shears
Also known as hand pruners or secateurs, pruning shears are scissors-like tools that are used to prune hard branches of trees and shrubs. Pruning is an inevitable aspect of gardening, especially when growing trees and shrubs. While it’s easy to master, pruning can be sometimes cumbersome for the elderly when some stems or leaves grow out of reach.
Pruning is usually done for aesthetic purposes, but it is also sometimes done to protect trees and surrounding plants. If trees are not properly pruned, they might become damaged or diseased. And their unchecked growth can affect other nearby plants.
In addition, pruning helps to increase the airflow through the tree canopy. This particularly benefits lower branches as well as other plants under the canopy.
Pruning shears have different features. Some are better suited for the elderly than others. While picking a pruning shear for an elderly person, you should look out for one that is ergonomically designed and easy to use.
2. Rolling Garden Seats
Rolling garden seats make gardening easier by eliminating pain, stress, and strain on the lower back and trunk. All these are commonly caused commonly caused by continuous squatting, stooping, kneeling and other repetitive movements that gardening involves.
In addition, gardening sometimes requires more energy than older seniors have. For seniors in this category, rolling garden seats can make tasks much easier in the garden.
A rolling garden seat has multiple functions – thanks to its various parts. While the tires make for easy movement within and outside the garden, the seat helps to keep the user relaxed and comfortable, and the attached utility basket holds garden tools and other stuffs such as snacks, water, and so on. Some models have a dedicated tool tray underneath the seat.
Not all rolling garden seats are well-suited for elderly people. So, when you’re looking to buy one for yourself or an elderly relative, be sure to check for a few important things.
Firstly, be sure to check the frame. You don’t want a frame that easily heats up in hot weather. Heat-resistant frames are best for elderly people. In addition, be sure that the seat is flexible enough and can turn easily. This will ensure maximum comfort for the user.
3. Hand Weeders
Gardening usually involves more of weeding than any other task – especially when you have a lot of young plants in your garden. So, to make your work in the garden faster and easier, a hand weeder is one of the tools you must invest in.
Hand weeders are particularly helpful for pulling out tough weeds such as dandelions. Using the bare hands on such weeds leaves them snapped, with their roots still firm in the soil. And this means you should expect to see the weeds again at any time soon. But with a hand weeder to the rescue, you’d be able to remove weeds from their roots without losing much sweat.
A hand weeder is easy to use, especially for people who do not have much strength or people with some joint problems. You simply use your body weight to burrow in the ground, then twist and turn to pull out all sorts of weed from the roots.
Seniors who have gardens no doubt need hand weeder to keep weeds under check without having to use harsh chemicals. So, in addition to the benefits already mentioned, hand weeders are environment-friendly and do no harm to kids and pets. The best hand weeders for elderly people are those with long shafts and thick, cushioned handles.
4. Rolling Garden Carts
Also known as trolleys, rolling garden carts are multipurpose tools used to haul sand, compost, bricks, potted plants, and other stuff around the garden. They come with padded handles that make hauling easier on the hands, and they are designed to move across any terrain.
When compared with a wheelbarrow, a four-wheeled rolling carts with big tires is more stable and easier to maneuver. It does not require lifting, and you do not have to throw body weight into them as with a wheelbarrow. Also, aside from the ease of offloading its contents, you can easily load a rolling cart with heavy stuff by simply tilting it downwards and close to the load. Then after it’s loaded, you can right it and move on. This can help you avoid backbreaking work in the garden
A garden cart must be able to withstand frequent use as well as bulky loads. Also, it should be able to go through rough terrains. Other factors to consider when buying a garden cart include wheel type, load capacity, and durability. Finding the right cart for the elderly involves finding the correct balance of these features for the loads and uses that you need.
5. Garden Hats
A major concern about gardening for elderly people is their exposure to the sun. The skin becomes weaker with age and prolonged exposure can be telling on the state of health. You must invest in high quality personal protective accessories to prevent the sun from getting in the skin and keep your body temperature cool. One of such accessories is a gardening hat.
A good gardening hat must be well ventilated and very lightweight. It is going to be so hot if you have to stand under the sun for a long time. Materials that are soft and cool would do a good job in keeping you cool and helping you stay comfortable while gardening. Also, a good garden hat must have great brim. A wide brim is understandably going to provide your face and ears with good shade from the sun. A downward sloping hat would provide even more shades for your skin.
While picking a garden hat, there are lots of materials to choose from. Polyester, cotton, and straw are good-quality materials suitable for garden hats. Each of them has its pros and cons, though.
While a straw gardening hat has the highest level of breathability of the three materials, it would have a lower ultraviolet protection factor rating compared to the other two materials. On the other hand, a polyester gardening sun hat is more durable and water resistant but not as ventilated as a straw gardening hat.
6. Raised Garden Bed
Raised garden beds, also known as garden boxes, are great for growing small plots of veggies and flowers. They help to keep pathway weeds from your garden soil preventing soil compaction. They also provide good drainage and serve as a barrier to pests such as slugs and snails.
The sides of the beds keep your valuable garden soil from eroding or washing away during heavy rains. In a lot of places, gardeners are only able to plant earlier in the season because they use garden beds.
Raised garden beds also help to reduce back strain, as there is little or no need to bend over to tend the plants. This is especially helpful for older gardeners or people who have lower back pain and similar issues.
Garden beds can be built to be strong and sturdy so that the gardener can sit on the edge of the bed while weeding. And for many gardeners, this is the biggest benefit of all.
Garden beds provide good drainage even in heavy rains. This explains why they are popular in tropical areas that usually have heavy rainfalls. The texture of the garden bed soil allows for water to leak through, thus preventing the water from carrying away the fertile topsoil.
Kneeling and crouching during gardening can have adverse effects on the elderly. Using raised garden beds eliminates a huge amount of physical activities involved in gardening. The garden beds can be constructed at the desired height and width of the elderly user to accommodate their bending and stretching limits.
7. No-Bend Stand Up Weed Grabber
One of the common complaints after gardening is lower back pain. Sometimes just a simple awkward movement or sudden strain can lead to weeks of pain and immobility especially in elderly people whose bones have been weakened by old age.
However, pulling out weeds from the garden is an important aspect of gardening. Getting rid of weeds keeps your garden beds tidy and your plants healthy. Weeds inhibit plant growth and compete for moisture, nutrients, and light. Weeds become hard to remove without damaging your plants once they have been giving room to take strong roots. Equipment that makes this process easier for the elderly are highly encouraged.
The no-bend weed remover is a handy gardening tool for elderly people or people with arthritis. The tool allows users to pull out weeds without having to bend or kneel. This takes away the hard work weeding for elderly people who might not have a lot of strength to burn on weeding.
With the weed grabber, weeds are simply removed by centering the prongs over the weed and pushing downward firmly. The handle is then turned to dislodge the weed root and pull the weed up. And ejector then removes the weed from the prongs. The handle is T-shaped which helps to increase leverage and makes turning and weed removal easier. The weed removing tool usually has a long handle to accommodate different heights and can be as long as 40 inches.