Community Blog

Using Gardening as Part of Your Care Efforts for Your Parent with Alzheimer's Disease

By Erin Carll

Caregivers in Mars PA

As a caregiver you are always looking for ways to help keep your aging parent as healthy, happy, and strong as possible. This is especially true if you are caring for a parent who is dealing with Alzheimer's disease. You want activities that will support a higher quality of life for your parent through both physical activity and mental stimulation. One of the most popular activities among seniors is gardening, and studies have shown that this is activity is one of the most beneficial for seniors with Alzheimer's disease as well. 

Gardening is a highly customizable experience, meaning that your parent can create a gardening experience that is right for them, whether it is a small bed of flowers or a patch of vegetables. There are many potential benefits that your parent can enjoy through gardening regularly, including:

  • Planning. Taking the time to plan out the garden stimulates the mind and encourages the use of cognitive processing and critical thinking skills. This is also special time that you can spend with your parent, building memories and helping to keep their mind as strong as possible.
  • Confidence. When your parent engages in gardening they are able to quickly see the products of their efforts. Whether it is seeing the plot of land cleared from weeds, knowing that they have spread the seeds, or seeing the seedlings and plants growing, your parent will get to enjoy a sense of accomplishment, which builds confidence. When your aging parent has more confidence they are better able to manage other challenges that come their way.
  • Social engagement. Gardening is something that your aging parent can do on their own, but it is also something that they can do with you, with a home care provider, or with other members of the community. When they garden with others they are able to enjoy the benefits of social interaction and of feeling like a valuable part of the community around them.
  • Maintaining a sense of self. While progressing through Alzheimer's disease many seniors feel as though they are no longer who they were or that they are losing their sense of self. By being able to continue enjoying an activity that they enjoyed when they were younger, your parent can maintain a sense of self that will boost their mental and emotional health, and give them greater motivation to keep managing their symptoms and following through with their treatment plan.
  • Physical exercise. Staying physically active is an important part of keeping your aging parent healthy and strong. While many forms of exercise seem strenuous and may be daunting to your senior, gardening provides valuable physical benefits without seeming like "real" exercise. Gardening regularly can help strengthen muscles and joints, improve flexibility and range of motion, support balance, and even burn calories. This is extremely beneficial for all aspects of physical health, including maintaining an ideal body weight, reducing arthritis suffering, and keeping their heart stronger.

Source
http://www.alzheimers.net/2014-06-16/gardening-helps-alzheimers/

If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring caregivers in Mars PA, please call the caring staff at Home Helpers. Call today (412) 201-0712.