Seniors looking for enjoyable, low-impact activities can consider gardening a top choice. Gardening is a leisurely past-time that has monumental impacts on older adults’ physical and mental health, emotional well-being, and life goals and meaning. Unfortunately, many older adults believe they cannot take up gardening due to a lack of outdoor space or mobility issues. Yet, indoor gardening activities for seniors can be an excellent way to develop gardening skills and nurture living plants. Likewise, it can be beneficial for individuals to relax and enjoy the fruits of their labor in the comfort of their own homes.
Older adults looking forward to a thriving green space, beautiful year-round blooms, or a flourishing vegetable garden may wonder how to begin their new hobby. This informative FAQ will answer all the important questions about indoor gardening for seniors.
What Is Indoor Gardening?
Indoor gardening is a popular way to grow plants, flowers, and produce inside a residence or greenhouse. It requires similar tasks as outdoor gardening only hobbyists must create and maintain suitable conditions for their preferred plants. The most important elements include soil, water, temperature, humidity, and sunlight. While many gardening enthusiasts have extensive systems to house many plants and produce, indoor gardening for seniors can be easy and uncomplicated. They simply need to ensure their preferred plants are perfect for the given environment and tend to their plants regularly. There is an ideal plant for everyone, from fruit trees to herb gardens to pretty potted plants to cacti.
What Are the Types of Indoor Gardens?
Anyone can achieve the garden of their dreams, even in an indoor environment. There are plenty of gardens for seniors that start or flourish as:
- Herb Gardens: Herb gardens are one of the easiest ways to start indoor gardening. Once they have grown, individuals can regularly pick a few leaves to spice up delicious dishes.
- Potted Plants: Potted green plants, flowers, cacti, and trees are an excellent way to set up a living garden around the house. They double as decorative pieces, providing pleasant balance to any room.
- Terrariums: Terrariums are perfect for plants that thrive in humid conditions. They are also ideal for elderly gardening as all plants are in one enclosed space.
- Air Plants: Air plants are a stylish, unique way to garden and decorate indoor spaces. Tillandsias grow without soil, taking in their nutrients from the air and moisture.
- Fruit and Vegetable Gardens: Fruit and vegetables can be a little harder to grow indoors, but nothing that the proper conditions and an experienced hand cannot accomplish well. Root vegetables and fruit trees may be the best beginner options as they require less care.
- Plant Walls: If individuals genuinely are interested in elderly gardening but lack space in their homes, they may wish to try vertical gardening. The set-up may require assistance if mobility issues are a concern. However, maintenance can be effortless when all chosen plants need similar conditions.
- Community Gardens: Adults without space for indoor gardens may consider a lot in a community garden or greenhouse. Social interaction and shared purpose may be motivating for some older adults.
What Are Gardening Benefits for Seniors?
Gardening for the elderly is an incredibly beneficial activity. Whether hands-deep in a vegetable garden or carefully tending to indoor flowers, older adults can realize the advantages of long-term engagement with the hobby. A few of the top gardening benefits for seniors include:
Better Mental Health
Indoor gardening activities for seniors can be therapeutic, especially for those afflicted by mental health issues. The exercise can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. In fact, daily gardeners have 6.6% higher well-being and 4.2% lower stress than non-gardeners. Additionally, gardening links to a lower prevalence of dementia, reducing the risk of developing the condition by 36%. Since indoor gardens allow older adults to access their plants readily, they are well-poised to reap these benefits.
Improved Physical Health
Gardening for seniors is a low-impact exercise, making it ideal for those with mobility issues. Indoor gardening may be even more beneficial to those who suffer from physical conditions making it challenging to move around, as they do not have to kneel or dig into the earth. That said, indoor gardening can still be beneficial for physical health. Gardening can elevate the heart rate, improving cardiovascular fitness. It can also improve hand functioning and strength, as seniors need to tend to the plants regularly.
Indoor gardens can also improve living environments, indirectly affecting health. Depending on the preferred plants and size of the garden overall, individuals may benefit from better indoor air quality. Further, simple exposure to green plants can positively affect health, particularly heart rate and mood.
Greater Emotional Well-Being
Along with improved mental health, elderly gardening can help regulate emotions. Studies find reduced anger, fatigue, and depression levels and increased overall mood. Likely, this is due to the relaxing activity providing a boost in serotonin and reduction in cortisol, a stress response hormone. Ultimately, when older adults experience better moods, they have greater overall health and life satisfaction.
Sense of Purpose
Seniors working towards goals or engaging in their interests maintain an excellent sense of meaning in their lives. Planting a garden, tending to the plants, and watching the garden thrive can help individuals develop a sense of responsibility and reward. Additionally, the creativity in planning and creating an indoor garden is mentally stimulating. If older adults need to learn about plants, ideal growing environments, and gardening techniques, they will also have plenty of mental stimulation.
What Do Seniors Need To Start Indoor Gardening?
After reading through all the gardening benefits for seniors, the activity may look very appealing. Fortunately, it is relatively easy to start indoor gardening. Simply follow these steps to start the new hobby on the right foot:
Find Ideal Plant Spots
Seniors or their loved ones should evaluate the residence for optimal gardening areas. There are plants for every type of condition, but natural sunlight marks an ideal spot for most plant life. Temperatures and humidity levels should be relatively stable for a flourishing plant. It is also important to look for secure and easily accessible spaces for safe elderly gardening.
Select the Perfect Plant
Plant buying can be one of the most enjoyable activities, but seniors need to consider a few factors. They should check the ideal growing location and ensure their indoor conditions are a good fit for the plant. They should also research the specific plant care, blooming season, maximum growth, and toxicity for pets or young children. Additionally, they have the choice of growing plants from seeds and bulbs, sprouts, or mature stages.
If individuals are novice gardeners, they only need a few basic supplies to begin the activity. Plant pots and trays, potting soil, a handheld shovel, a small watering can, pruning shears, and gardening gloves are all important pieces of equipment to have on hand. As gardeners build expertise and experience, they may opt for more elaborate supplies and set-ups.
Consider a Subscription
Gardening for the elderly can be a simple hobby or an enjoyable learning experience for seniors. They may like to sign up for a gardening magazine, newsletter, or website to learn more about the activity. They could also benefit from an annual gardening seed or bulb magazine, allowing them to browse potential additions to their gardens. Social individuals may like to participate in a gardening class or club.
What Are Easy Indoor Gardening Activities for Seniors?
When older adults start a new activity, it is crucial to start small. There is a higher chance that they will keep up with the hobby if it is accessible, and they can build on their knowledge as their interest grows. Accordingly, it may be advantageous to know some easy gardening projects:
Succulents are hardy plants, surviving in many types of environments. They are ideal for beginners, as they do not take a significant amount of care. Additionally, they do not take up much room and can easily sit in small pots on a windowsill or coffee table.
Herbs are another excellent choice in indoor gardens for seniors. Small pots or long trays can accommodate basil, mint, chives, parsley, rosemary, thyme, and other cooking favorites. If gardeners are feeling adventurous, they can add some vegetables like garlic, tomatoes, or peppers in deeper pots.
Cacti require sunny environments with warm temperatures. If seniors live in warmer climates, they may enjoy the aesthetic and easy care. Some even have beautiful, colorful blooms. Choosing cacti with soft or small glochids may be necessary, as sharp spines may be dangerous for certain individuals.
Smart gardens are small gardening systems with everything needed to maintain the plant. They come with plant pods with plant seeds, nutrients, and soil. A connection to WiFi takes care of temperature, humidity, light, and water. While seniors may not receive all the gardening benefits for seniors from these all-inclusive packages, they will have a flourishing garden in no time.
Terrariums are the perfect way for older adults to create ideal plant environments. They can make and maintain tropical or desert biomes. They can even add decorative stones or fountains to their set-ups to enhance their aesthetic appeal. However, individuals may need to invest in equipment such as heaters, LED lights, and misters.
What Are Low-Maintenance Indoor Plants?
Gardening for seniors can be made easy with low-maintenance indoor plants. While beginners can benefit from plants that are easy to care for, it can also be good for seniors with memory problems to have adaptable plants. A few excellent indoor plants include:
- Snake Plant: These long green stem plants are incredibly hardy. They can thrive in low lighting and withstand long dry periods.
- Spider Plant: The spider plant will grow fast if placed in bright sunlight or low lighting. While it enjoys regular watering, it can retain water well.
- Pothos: Pothos grows well in all lighting and only requires water when the top of the soil becomes dry.
- Air Plants: Air plants take all their nutrients from the air, so gardeners need to ensure they have ample moisture or humidity.
- Aloe: Apart from an ideally warm environment, these tiny plants do not require much care. They also thrive in dry conditions, so regular waterings are not necessary.
Many seniors are finding this hobby healthy, fun, and relaxing.