Senior Scene April 30,2018

It may be six weeks behind schedule, but I do believe Spring has finally sprung! Last weekend I had the pleasure of visiting my flower gardens and preparing them for a flourishing summer, I hope. Many seniors have enjoyed gardening all their lives and with some common sense and caution, there is no reason they cannot continue to pursue this passion, even in advanced age.

Gardening for seniors can benefit their health and well being while being therapeutic and allowing them to stay active and productive. Gardening is not only an enjoyable pastime; it is an excellent form of exercise for mobility, flexibility and use of motor skills that help improve strength and endurance. Working in a garden is beneficial for reducing stress levels and promoting relaxation thereby permitting better rest at night. Here are some tips for seniors that will help them enjoy their gardens all summer long.

• Do a few stretches to “warm” up before commencing gardening activities. This will help reduce muscle soreness later on
• Drink plenty of liquids (non-alcoholic) to keep your body well hydrated (Note: coffee and tea are not good choices either)
• Cleanse and dress any cuts, bruises, scrapes and insect bites immediately to prevent infection
• Work in the garden early in the morning or later in the day to avoid the midday sun and heat that can make any senior ill or weary
• Wear comfortable clothing and shoes and add a hat and gloves to cover exposed skin. Wear sunscreen to protect against sunburn and skin damage
• Know your limitations and if you feel fatigued, take a break and rest
• Rotate your gardening tasks so you are not putting strain on smaller muscles that will only become painfully apparent after it is too late
• Avoid using tools that require awkward body positions. If it is affordable try some of the new ergonomically friendly garden tools that are designed to reduce strain and injury because they work in conjunction with your body movements. These new tools are lightweight and sturdy for better control with the shorter handled tools giving better leverage and the longer handled tools providing better power for reduced effort.
• Finally, keep your tools sharp, well oiled and in good working condition. This reduces resistance during use and relieves some of the physical power needed to execute certain tasks.

A couple of weeks ago I provided some helpful hints regarding the dreaded task of spring cleaning, but despite all the helpful hints in the world, some seniors are just no longer physically capable of performing traditional housekeeping activities or yard maintenance tasks. Of course, one can always turn to family members or the Yellow Pages for assistance, but this is not always a practical solution. This is where agencies like CCSH can be an excellent resource.

CCSH offers a service that utilizes self-employed people in the community to assist seniors with their housekeeping, laundry, shopping, minor maintenance, and yard care. We ensure that all the individuals we recruit are properly security screened and that they truly enjoy working with and for seniors. At the present time we are in need of individuals who would like to work in cooperation with our agency and our clientele. If you or someone you know would like to become part of our roster of home help and home maintenance workers, please contact us at 613-969-0130 or send an email to me at shell-leew@ccsh.ca.