Spring is a time of renewal. That wonderful feeling you get when the weather warms up and it’s time to tend your garden and freshen up your home happens to people of all ages. In fact, for many seniors, their home and garden are a huge source of pride. Gardening can also serve as an outlet for improving mental and physical well-being.
But not all springtime chores are easy. Especially as you grow older and need a helping hand with heavier tasks.
Advice for Helping Seniors with Spring Cleaning and Gardening
If your senior loved one needs help with the annual rites of Spring – both in the home and in the garden – we have a few suggestions for getting organized. For inspiration, we turned to none other than home and garden maven herself, the famous Martha Stewart.
So, what did the queen of housekeeping have to say about the annual spring cleanup?
As you might expect, she offers a useful list of Spring gardening tips. You can adapt her list when you’re helping a senior loved one with their Spring household and gardening chores.
Here’s What Martha Says to Do
Even if you’ve never set foot in a vegetable garden, Martha’s handy checklist can aid you in figuring out what tasks your senior loved one might be able to do on their own, what you might be able to assist with and those that will require professional help.
- Walk through the Yard and Create a List. Start by taking a walk through the yard and gardens with your loved one. Create a list of tasks that need to be completed. If there are tree limbs that need to come down, make note. Do last season’s perennials need cleaned up? Does mulch need to be raked or refreshed? Add it to the list. Ask your loved one what they would like to see done. Also remember to check the fence, steps, and pathways for disrepair and damage.
- Preparing and planting the garden. This is probably the one area where your senior loved one will need the most help. Turning over last year’s dead leaves or other compost material is heavy work. Clearing the debris is also hard work. If your loved one wants to keep gardening, but struggles to manage physical tasks, consider installing raised garden beds. Placing them at chest level will allow the older gardener in your life to safely pursue their passion.
- Clean the bird feeders and birdbaths. Chances are probably pretty good that your loved one has a birdfeeder and/or birdbath in the yard. Did you know they have to be cleaned out? A bird-friendly method of cleaning is important. For feeders, a mixture of white vinegar and water can be used. For bird baths, use a denture cleaner mixed with water.
If you don’t have a lawn and landscape professional you trust, call your local agency on aging. Most of these offices maintain a list of senior-friendly professionals. Some counties even have financial support for seniors who help with these services.
How About Around the House?
Here are some basic spring chores to consider in your senior loved one’s home:
- Wash the windows
- Put away winter clothing/bring out the warm-weather clothes
- Dust the light fixtures
- Clean under the oven and fridge
- Wash baseboards and walls
- Vacuum the drapes
- Check the batteries on smoke/CO alarms
- Deep clean the carpets
We hope these tips help you as you’re preparing your senior loved one’s home and garden for Spring. It’s a wonderful time of year, and preparing for it in this way together can be a bonding experience for the both of you.
Helping Older Adults Thrive
Gardening is a form of healthy living that impacts the body, mind and spirit. These are a few of the facets that make up the Lifestyle360 program at Five Star Senior Living. Call us to find out how we help each resident in our community live their best life!