Gardens are a relaxing place to spend time, whatever our age, but for seniors, it’s a place where they can soak up some sun and enjoy the weather. Your elderly mom or dad will probably enjoy the garden, but if their backyard is looking a bit wild these days, or they struggle to get outside, here are a few things you can do to make their life easier.
One of the biggest problems seniors face when trying to go outside is the issue of steps and uneven pathways. If a garden is not level and there are multiple steps to traverse, it could prevent your mom or dad from going outside without help.
One way to fix this is to fit ramps and handrails so they can easily move around, especially if they use a wheelchair. Purpose-built metal ramps can be bought from mobility stores, or you can ask a building contractor to fashion one from wood or concrete.
Fix handrails around exit doors so the person has something to grab hold of when they step outside. It is safer for them and reduces the risk of falls.
Outdoor Seating Under a Shelter
Some form of outdoor seating is essential, as a senior won’t want to sit on the grass or perch on a low wall.
Garden benches are ideal, as they are more robust and stable than chairs. For example, you could buy a timber patio bench and position it close to the back door, so your mom or dad can step outside and enjoy a few minutes in the sun without a lot of effort. Plastic benches are also great because they need minimal care. Some benches also have integral tables, for drinks and books. Provide soft, all-weather cushions for additional comfort.
Once you have chosen a suitable design for your garden seating, it’s time to think about providing some shelter from the sun (or rain!). Seniors need plenty of protection from the sun, especially if they are prone to falling asleep outside.
A parasol is a quick and easy option, but this will need to be moved in bad weather. It might be worth fitting a more permanent shelter, such as a pergola or porch roof. This is great for a senior who likes to pop outside for a smoke.
Colorful Flowers and Shrubs
There’s little incentive to sit outside when there isn’t much to look at. Plant some colorful perennials and annuals, so there is lots of color. Look for plants that flower at different times of the year, so the garden is pretty from spring through to fall.
If your senior still likes to get their hands dirty, create some raised beds so they can plant and weed without needing to bend down too far. Herbs and other fragrant plants are ideal for beds close to a seating area.
With a bit of effort, you can create a lovely garden any senior will enjoy spending time in.