Many of our beloved elderly grew up with a garden, even if they lived in a town or small city. During World War II, Victory Gardens were very common. Traditionally these were grown in back yards, containers or garden boxes. They often grew vegetables, fruit and herbs to help provide their own food reducing reliance on others during the war effort.
Those in their 70s and older likely remember helping their family plant and harvest. Creating a small container garden today would bring back memories of that time. It may also provide some fresh, tasty and nutritious items for them to eat!
If your family member has some outdoor space with good light, try a container garden. They might enjoy a trip to a local garden center to choose a pot, soil, and seeds or bedding plants. Many nurseries also offer pre-made container gardens or color bowls (a color bowl usually refers to flowers instead of food-producing plants, but offers just as much enjoyment).
There are many good vegetables that grow well in containers. Tomatoes, peppers (even green chile for Texas gardeners), sweet peas, spinach, lettuce, radishes, squash, and beans. The pot needs to have good drainage and some veggies like deeper soil or cooler weather, so ask the garden center or read the seed packages for more information.
Another benefit of container gardens for seniors is that it’s something to care for and to look forward to. Gardens require regular watering and it’s fun to watch for blossoms, then the development of the small tomato or squash. For those who are home-bound, it’s a positive, hopeful timeline to follow the progress of the growing plants.
Of course, be mindful of the mobility of the elderly person. Make sure access to an outdoor hose is easy to reach! Safety at home is a priority for the residents we care for at BeeHive Homes Assisted Living. Our role is to help your family member live at home for as long as possible. In our small, home-like assisted living care facilities we’ll provide care for activities of daily living like showering, dressing and toileting; transportation; and meal preparation. We’ll even help with watering those container gardens or including the fresh spinach or lettuce in a meal!