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Senior Stress Relief Through Gardening

By Nancy Delwaide, 9:00 am on

Hobbies are often a popular solution for seniors who want to manage their stress levels. For many seniors who are overwhelmed with stress, gardening has proven to be helpful in alleviating those feelings. Oakville part-time care experts want to share some of the reasons why becoming a green thumb has this effect.

Engagement with Nature

For most seniors, stress is caused by environmental factors. Many are worried about their finances or health, while others may be involved in toxic relationships. Whatever the reason for the stress, changing up the physical environment and regularly engaging with nature can be an effective way to alleviate it. A 2014 study conducted in the Netherlands found carrying out activities in nature lowered stress levels much more effectively than those same tasks done indoors.

Access to Foods That Fight Stress

While some foods have a temporary calming effect, there are actually fruits and vegetables that can provide your aging loved one with long-term stress relief. Produce high in folate and folic acid can be particularly effective in helping the elderly remain calm and balanced. Luckily, many of the fruits and vegetables that are rich in these vitamins are ideal additions to a garden. This includes leafy greens, broccoli, berries, beets, and cauliflower.

Lowering of Cortisol Levels

The adrenal glands produce an important hormone known as cortisol. In smaller quantities, this hormone gives us energy when we wake up and keeps us alert when working on something important. However, if our bodies produce too much cortisol we can have feelings of anxiety as our blood pressure shoots up. Recent studies conducted at the University of Illinois found just 30 minutes of gardening a day can drastically reduce cortisol levels.

A Sense of Purpose

There is a strong connection between a senior’s psychological health and his or her sense of purpose. Seniors who feel like they are contributing nothing to the world around them have much higher rates of depression, chronic stress, and other emotional disorders. Much like having a pet, tending a garden can give your loved one something to look forward to every day and a sense of control over his or her life.

For additional strategies to help your loved one reduce stress, turn to Home Care Assistance. Our caregivers can provide social stimulation, assist with exercise and meal prep, and help with many other important tasks. For more information on senior care Oakville families trust, call one of our friendly Care Managers at (905) 337-1200 to schedule a free in-home consultation.

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