When you grow old, your scope of movement shrinks, but your will to work and socialize doesn’t. In many western countries nowadays, a big problem connected to the elderly is emerging. Unlike in many Asian countries, for example, old people don’t often stay to live with their children once they’re adults. While this does lead to a lot of personal liberty, it also means that many elderly people are chronically lonely. Therefore, including elderly people in social events and circles is essential for improving their quality of life. Because having a healthy social life is one of the concerns when people reach their retirement age.
In this article, we're going to talk about how you can create a senior-friendly outdoor area, in particular. As you will see, addressing the needs of seniors is a fairly straightforward thing and it won’t cost a fortune.
Here’s the deal.
Make Space for ‘Container Gardening’
… and by ‘space’, we mean indoor space. Of course, this article is about arranging outdoor senior-friendly areas, but here’s a little detour that can be useful nevertheless. In case the elderly people you’re dealing with can’t leave their home for extended periods – build them an indoor garden. While this may sound counterintuitive, it makes a lot of sense and it can be done fairly easily. The thing we’re talking about is called ‘container’ gardening. What you do is you first obtain a bunch of containers such as jugs, fish bowls, or flower pots. Then, you pour some soil in them, add fertilizer, and a plant of your choosing. This way, an elderly person (or any person, really) with limited mobility can have a small piece of outdoors – indoors.
Gardening Aprons Can Be a Lifesaver
Sticking to the gardening theme, helping elderly people work on soil means adding some special tools in their ‘agricultural arsenal’. The thing is, working in a garden often means carrying tools to and fro the shed. While this isn’t even noticeable to younger folks, to elderly people it can be a big hurdle. So, to help an elderly person be able to work in their garden, you might want to get them a gardening apron.
This simple but hugely helpful outdoor garment means that you can keep a lot of smaller tools around their waist. This, in turn, means fewer trips to the shed and therefore – less walking.
Only Pick Tools Lightweight Tools with Ergonomically-Designed Handles
Speaking of gardening tools, these would, too, need to undergo some changes to make them more elderly-friendly. The reasoning behind this is fairly simple – it’s mostly the handles. The thing is, using tools for extended periods can cause blisters on hands and feel quite uncomfortable. Therefore, you need to help the elderly be able to use their gardening tools more easily. This can be done by picking the most lightweight tools you can find. Also, tools with ergonomic handles can be a great option for this purpose, too.
Steer Clear from Heavy-Duty Power Tools
Power tools do tend to be more efficient for getting the job done. That said, they might not be the best option for the elderly.
First off, power tools are heavier than the regular ones.
Secondarily, they tend to be noisy and potentially dangerous to handle if you don’t have a secure grip.
Therefore, you might want to steer clear of power tools if you’re buying them for an elderly person.
Create a Low-Maintenance Sheltered Outdoor Area
Nothing like breathing in some fresh air after watching TV all day or doing indoor chores. Now, creating an outdoor area for elderly people doesn’t differ from creating it for anyone else. The only thing you should pay attention to probably is that the area isn’t too hilly. Also, you can’t have any potentially dangerous objects on the ground or in the general area.
What you absolutely can’t do without, on the other hand, is some sort of shelter against the elements. Whether it’s a gazebo, a large umbrella, or a stylish tiled arbour – as long as it protects from the rain, it will do just fine.
In case you need the materials for this venture, you can find tile suppliers online and get your hardware there.
All in all, optimizing a patch of the outdoors for the elderly is not that tough, as you’ve seen. If it’s gardening, make sure that the tools are lightweight and that they are comfortable to work with. If it’s a general resting and leisure area, get rid of hillocks and provide shelter against rain.
Remember, the elderly don’t need any special care more often than not. That said, you should aim to provide easy-to-use tools and facilities to them anyway. It’s a great way to make their day-to-day life easier and more productive.
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