Gardening for Older Adults

More than 78 million Americans enjoy the benefits of gardening, including millions of older adults. Gardening provides an open-air sanctuary from the stresses of everyday life, restoring physical, mental and spiritual strength to all who play in the dirt. Unfortunately, many older adults think they have to give up gardening as they age. These tips make gardening easier, extending the lifespan of all those experienced green thumbs out there.


  • Use tools that are the right length and shape. Long-handled tools make reaching easier, while curved-handled tools provide more leverage and better grip.


  • Paint your garden tools with bright colors to make them easier to find. Garden tool manufacturers tend to dye all spades green, for example, providing perfect camouflage for tools lost in the grass.


  • Wear lightweight clothing, a long sleeved shirt, sunscreen, eye protection, a wide-brimmed hat and gardening gloves.


  • Do your gardening early in the morning or late in the evening. Avoid the hot sun, especially between the hours of 10 AM and 2 PM. You will be more comfortable, and your produce and flowers will be fresher. Drink plenty of water and take frequent breaks in the shade.


  • Use a vertical garden, trellis, or raised boxes so you do not have to bend over. Raised beds provide a place to sit while gardening. Otherwise, sit on a stool, chair or bench. Ask your home care aide to help you move the chair or stool.


  • Purchase seed already attached to seed tape for easy sowing.


Older Americans can enjoy gardening comfortably and safely for many years. Gardening provides physical activity, fresh air, and a sense of accomplishment. Start gardening today.