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Beacon Senior News

Essential gardening products for aging adults

Jul 26, 2021 11:42AM ● By Kimberly Blaker
Older man stands in garden, holding tool in one hand and lower back with other, with a grimace

Reduce strain, prevent pain and overcome barriers caused by physical impairments when gardening

Gardening offers many excellent mental and physical health benefits. You’re not only exercising as you move around, you’re boosting your emotional health by spending time outdoors while tending to your plants’ needs as they grow.

Unfortunately, as you age or if you have any physical impairments or conditions, all the bending, extending, kneeling, lifting and other gardening aspects can become painful or difficult. If you find gardening is taking a toll on your body, luckily there are many handy products out there. Certain gardening gadgets and equipment can reduce strain and support you through various challenges to make the experience possible and enjoyable!


Arthritis

Arthritic hands can make it difficult to grip and maneuver traditional gardening tools that put your hands and wrists in uncomfortable positions. However, there are a few great alternatives. In particular, home improvement stores often sell ergonomically designed tool sets or cultivator claws, which are explicitly made to be lighter weight and more efficient or comfortable to use.


Bad knees and backs

When your knees or back are prone to pain, the constant bending and kneeling required for gardening may seem impossible to keep up with. Still, there are ways to reduce discomfort or eliminate the need to kneel and bend as often, if at all.

If you struggle when putting pressure on your knees for extended periods, many products can reduce the stress of kneeling on the hard ground. You might want to try a foldable and portable deep seat garden kneeler, which combines a garden seat and kneeling pad into one.

There are also lawn and garden carts that double as both an easy-to-pull wagon and a sturdy seat from which to garden.

A bad back makes it hard to bend over to pull weeds and keep them from taking over your garden. With a stand-up weed puller, you can remove these invasive plants from the root without ever having to bend down.


Limited reach

Do you struggle with limited reach because of mobility issues or wheelchair use? If so, there are tools to make it easier to tend to your plants from farther away.

With a long-handled planter tool, you can easily plant your bulbs and seedlings in the ground without having to kneel down and reach into the garden.

You can also bring the garden up to your level by investing in a raised garden bed, which you can use while standing. There are many other types of raised beds of various heights and sizes to fit your specific needs.


Balance and strength problems

Gardening involves a lot of moving around, standing up, squatting, pulling plants out of the ground, and carting around heavy plant debris, soil and all manner of tools. But suppose you struggle with balance problems or limited strength? Gardening can put you in a dangerous position, increasing your risk of falling or sustaining an injury.

Cart tools around safely with a rolling mobile tool storage system like a heavy-duty garden cart. This will reduce heavy lifting and carrying gardening tools around.

Watering with a hose or heavy watering can could also throw off your balance or be difficult to lift. To avoid this, install a drip watering system for your potted plants. Drip systems automatically deliver an efficient amount of water to your hanging plants and containers.


Thinning skin

Plants can be particularly rough on thinning skin, especially when dealing with rose thorns or spiky weeds, which can quickly tear your skin up. Cuts can make gardening painful and even lead to infections. If you have more delicate skin, make sure it’s protected and consider investing in thorn proof rose pruning gloves.


Sun protection

Traditional gardening takes place outdoors since plants need sunlight to grow. As a result, it’s vital to keep your skin protected from too much sun exposure, which can lead to sunburn and an increased risk of skin cancer. A sun hat with a wide-brim and neck cover can keep you protected from UV rays.

You might also want to consider an indoor gardening system—like a vertical hydroponics growing system—if you need to stay entirely out of the sun. These work great with lettuces, herbs, and even fruits and veggies.


Canning? Yes, you can.