If you're looking at independent living communities, the amenities offered are certainly going to be among the top things you consider when choosing where to go. One amenity you should seriously consider looking for is the opportunity to garden, be it in a community garden or in a private plot near your residence. Despite its sedate reputation, gardening has proved to be a major player in helping seniors stay happy, healthy, and optimistic about the future. Here are three ways gardening can enhance your life once you move to an independent living community.
Being More Involved
Even if you choose to have your own container garden on your own balcony, doing so will likely bring you into regular contact with other gardeners in the community, and it will definitely keep you in contact with people at local nurseries and garden centers. This is more important than it sounds because a key cause of malnourishment in otherwise healthy seniors (i.e., those who were generally able to take care of themselves) is isolation. For example, a 2011 study found that the level of loneliness experienced by seniors was predictive of their risk of malnutrition. If you can stay in regular touch with the people around you, you increase your chances of having a healthier diet.
More Fruits and Vegetables
Part of staying healthy as you age is eating a healthy diet. You're not just consuming mindless calories; you're consuming a suitable amount of fiber, protein, vitamins, and so on. Eating lots of fruit and vegetables is crucial to getting those nutrients. CNN notes that gardeners tend to eat more fruits and vegetables, so having your own garden plot or helping with a community garden is a great way to keep fruits and vegetables at the forefront of your mind and diet.
More Physical Activity
Even if you're just tending a container garden, you're going to have to move in order to complete your tasks. From picking up bags of topsoil to digging to cleaning, you're going to get much more physical activity when you garden. This can have further effects on cognitive health as well. A 2006 study found that gardening reduced the risk of dementia by about 36 percent.
If you're interested in gardening in your new residence, talk to the independent living communities near you to see what they offer. You'll find that you'll have a lot of opportunities to get involved.
For an independent living community near you, contact a facility such as Mayfair Village Retirement Community.