April's Senior Snippet

Welcome to the latest edition of Senior Snippets: the monthly advisory column with the older members of our community in mind, brought to you by Philip Keohane, Director of Home Instead in Reading.

Gardening can be a great activity. It’s satisfying, productive and a very good way to stay active and get some fresh air. Age can make some tasks harder, but here are some top tips on how to make gardening a safe and fun activity no matter what your age.

Build raised beds- Raised beds make gardening easier if you struggle to stretch or bend down to the plants. They are much easier to weed and maintain as you can perch on the side and use a trowel to plant and weed.

Try container gardening- This is essentially planting into a pot or a container of your choice. This is beneficial as you can place the garden virtually anywhere so that it’s easily accessible. Remember to use light weight containers for extra easy handling.

Pick your plants carefully- Choosing plants that are easy to maintain and able to withstand a variety of conditions is essential for an easy gardening experience. This ultimately makes gardening less strenuous overall. Onions and shallots are very low maintenance. Other easy to grow crops are spring onions, broad beans and carrots. If your soil is poor try growing hardy crops such as rosemary, sage or thyme.

Path surfaces- Look at the surface of paths to check they don’t get slippery at any time of the year. Wood can also get slippery so keep an eye on decking, and algae and moss are dangers too.

Use the right equipment- Long-handled tools such as forks and spades will mean less digging, and use tools that are lightweight to prevent arm, shoulder and back injuries. You can also use a stool or chair to save your legs from having to squat or sit down.

Work with your limits and enjoy- Only take on what you can manage- if a whole plot is too much, go for half a plot. Make sure you stretch and swap around activities; for example a bit of digging, a bit of watering, a bit of pruning. Most importantly, have fun!

By following these top tips, you will be able to do your gardening safely and effectively.

I welcome any suggestions for future topics from you all. All you have to do is write to me at [email protected] or by Phone on 0118 909 9108.

Philip Keohane