Gardening is a wonderful activity for older adults. It gets them out in the fresh air and sun, promotes physical exercise, stimulates their mind, and gives them something to feel proud of. As with anything else, however, it is important for you to recognize potential risks associated with gardening and take steps in your caregiver efforts to minimize these risks and keep your parent safer.
Use these tips to keep your senior safe while gardening:
- Make sure your parent is properly protected from the sun. This includes sunscreen, a hat with a wide brim, and clothing that covers as much skin as possible.
- Make sure your parent is properly protected from the dangers of bug bites with a high-quality bug spray applied to the skin and clothing prior to going outside.
- Check the area around the garden to detect any signs of potentially dangerous pets such as rodents or snakes. Make sure these are managed properly before your parent spends time gardening.
- Discourage your senior from gardening during the time of day when the sun is at its most intense, which is usually between 10 in the morning and 2 in the afternoon. This can quickly become a dangerous situation for seniors, who are more vulnerable to heat and sun exposure than younger people.
- If your parent struggles with mobility or cognitive issues, discourage them from gardening by themselves. Having someone with them will help to reduce risks and handle situations that may arise effectively.
- If your parent is going to do their gardening independently, make a habit of them letting you know when they are going out and when they come back in. This way you can monitor the time and check in if you are concerned about them.
Caregiver guilt is a very real thing, but you should never feel guilty of reaching out for help.
Caring for an elderly adult is rarely something one person can manage, and if you are taking care of your senior parent while also fulfilling other responsibilities such as raising your children, managing your career, and also taking care of yourself, it can be overwhelming.
Getting help from a home care provider can be one of the best decisions you can make for your senior and yourself. The care provided by this professional meets your senior’s needs in ways that are meaningful, respectful, and personalized, and also gives you the time, flexibility, and freedom you need. This means a better life and a stronger relationship for both of you, which is something you should never feel guilty about.