Activities in Season

owl pot with flowers

Tips for Creating Activity Spaces in the Garden for an Elder

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Tips for Creating Activity Spaces in the Garden for an Elder

Creating activity spaces for elderly loved ones is important especially for those folks with Alzheimer’s or memory loss. Activity spaces in which activity supplies are within sight or reach remind us that we enjoy taking part in that activity. Thus, it can engage us in the activity.

Creating spaces for gardening is important for elders that love to garden or enjoy the outdoors. Having tools and supplies out and available may remind an elder to take part in a gardening task or activity. It also creates an inviting environment that can make tasks easier for those with physical disabilities.

owl pot with flowers

Ideas for creating activity spaces for gardening outdoors.

  • Keep a bucket of small tools available on or near the patio for patio gardening. Keep only the simplest tools like a small hand shovel, hand claw, or other small tools your loved one likes to use. Keep a pair of gloves nearby as well. Don’t overwhelm with the amount of tools to choose from, one or two is usually sufficient for patio gardening. Also make sure they are safe for your loved one to use. Plastic type hand shovels are available too.
  • Keep a small watering can or small watering containers nearby to remind her to water.
  • Make sure an elder has safe sturdy chairs to sit on while gardening or enjoying the outdoors. These may be placed around the yard to enjoy different parts of the yard or while working in a particular area.
  • Plant a patio garden in pots. Plant flowers and herbs which can be tended to daily, for example, deadheading flowers, pinching off herbs to add to recipes, etc. A gardener usually can’t keep her hands off touching the plants, smelling them, and rearranging them in some way. Having plants close to where she sits outdoors can be a visual reminder to partake in gardening. Use pots that are lightweight and those that are fun to look at like the owl pot above. Place patio pots on caddies to make pots easier to move around. Check out more ideas for elders and gardening.
  • Select one or various types of gardens to plant. For an elder, some suggestions might be a patio sensory garden, vegetable garden, herb garden, butterfly garden, fairy garden, flower garden, shade garden, window-box garden, berry garden, or a childhood garden.
  • Keep items like bird/animal books and binoculars on a patio table. Use these to watch and identify the wildlife that come to visit in her yard. Talk about what you see.
  • Set out garden books to look at so that she can identify plants or just enjoy the book.
  • Set out garden art around the yard. Let these be points of interest and conversation starters.
  • Keep empty pots and soil available if she would enjoy repotting or separating plants.
  • Make a list of things to identify in the yard, like a scavenger hunt, especially fun for when grandkids visit. This list will depend on what is in your elder’s yard. You may add things like statues, the pink rosebush, basil, evergreen tree, the big red stone, aspen tree, etc.
  • Use plant markers for a loved one to identify which plant she is working with. Have the supplies available to make and mark new plants that she gets.
  • Creating walking paths in the yard that loop back to where she started decreases confusion and  can help those with memory loss.