June is a month when the warmer temperatures begin to become more frequent; the grass grows quickly; but most importantly, the vegetable and fruit plants begin to take over and produce fresh fruits and veggies. June is known as National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable month. The benefits of gardening, being outdoors and doing something many enjoy is fruitful. Gardening brings many benefits to individuals, especially older adults. The health benefits of gardening for seniors are as plentiful as seeds on a poppy.
Even during times such as the current ongoing pandemic, getting down and garden-dirty is a positive way to boost both mental and physical health. Whether you live alone or at an assisted living community, gardening forces you to exercise your body and brain and can be very therapeutic.
Older adults benefit from the exercise and muscle strengthening that goes along with gardening. Did you know that planting and pulling weeds can help an individual burn up to 400 calories an hour? Gardening gets the body moving. Potted garden plants and raised gardens have increased popularity over the years and are great for individuals living in communal living-type environments or those with small spaces.
Glasswater Creek of Lafayette typically has a community potted garden. Residents have enjoyed pulling the weeds from various pots and watching the produce grow. It has formed a sense of community and something many have enjoyed. To protect our residents against the COVID -19 virus, at this time, we have not been able to plant our community garden. However, many individuals have taken on the task of raising indoor plants and flowers in their individual apartments. During an already stressful time, many have found caring for plants and flowers within their apartments to be stress reducing. Families have delivered pots, plants and soil for their loved ones, and a few have grown sprouts in the windows with a plastic zip-lock bag method.
Whether you have a “green thumb” or have never planted or cared for plants before, we encourage you to plant a small pot of flowers or a tomato or pepper plant this June and join us in partaking in National Fresh Fruit & Vegetable month.