Fun and healthy physical activities for the elderly can include enjoying a gardening activity, something my senior mom loves! Once upon a time, she was able to do it in the time-honored way of putting the seeds into the ground and harvesting a delightful crop, after weeks or months of digging, weeding, and watering – frequently on her hands and knees.
Nowadays a combination of arthritis, general aches and pains, and a more limited range of motion have required her to get a bit more creative in order to pursue her passion of annually planting a small vegetable garden. Since it’s getting harder for her to get down to the garden, she’s busy looking for ways to get the garden up to her.
She considered the traditional raised beds garden but even those were a bit low for her. So finally, she developed a way of making her own cheap raised garden beds that are higher than the norm.
She got busy planting tomatoes and herbs in lots of lightweight plastic pots and planters, which she then puts on top of our picnic table. She can easily water the plants, trim them, and even talk to them if she likes.
The advantage of this is that, in the early part of the season, when the sun may spend too much time playing peek-a-boo, she can move her pots around to catch some rays. This type of garden activity actually results in giving her a bit of extra exercise that she can handle – always a good thing for all of us and particularly our elderly parents!
Her portable and raised "garden beds" in pots have also turned out to be quite useful for our last two homes which frequently experience extreme weather, such as high winds or possibly even tornadoes. If we know a storm is coming, she uses a grand child's sturdy wagon
or a utility garden wagon
to move the pots to a sheltered area like the patio or garage. Again, she also gets some healthy exercise she can handle as she lifts the pots up and down into either of the garden wagons. She, of course, buys the size pots she can easily move, even when they are full of dirt.
She has a great time combining her love of gardening with fun activities for grandparents and their grandchildren by taking one grandchild out at a time to show them her garden, talk to them about how to plant a vegetable garden, have them help her with a tiny bit of trimming, and, if the timing works out, they can sometimes even help great-grandma plant a pot. Needless to say, they enjoy that as much as she does! And, of course, she doesn't forget those great grandkids who live far away! She writes them about her vegetable gardening, sends them photos and articles from magazines and newspapers, and enjoys giving them fun nature magazines like Big Backyard and Ranger Rick to help create in each of them a love for gardening! Isn't that a wonderful legacy to pass on!
Once in a while, she has fallen in love with a pot that’s a bit heavier than she can handle. That, of course, is another of the advantages of the Sandwich Generation issues of caring for elderly parents and grandchildren. She can always nab me or one of her grandkids to move that pot. How about you and your elderly parents. Have they come up with any interesting and fun physical senior citizen activities that are good ways for how people over 50 can raise their metabolism? We'd love to hear about them.