Seniors who are contemplating a move to a retirement community often hesitate because they fear they will have to give up one of their favorite pastimes: gardening. As you will discover, Lancaster’s senior-living communities have developed into “garden spots” that keep residents engaged with nature.
Today’s senior-living communities recognize the benefits their residents derive from digging in the dirt and communing with nature. As a result, many communities encourage residents to beautify the areas around their homes with gardens. Some have greenhouses. Some are home to community gardens in which vegetables are raised. Beautifully landscaped communities compel residents to go outdoors and take advantage of the walking paths that weave their way through natural areas.
Research is revealing the many ways gardening and natural surroundings improve the lives of seniors. The benefits are so dramatic that gardening is being hailed as “Horticulture Therapy” and is especially proving beneficial for those dealing with mental health issues. The ramifications of its positive impact are endless and include lower stress levels, reduced depression and a decreased risk of developing Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia.
As a moderately intense form of exercise, gardening can certainly contribute to the 30 minutes of daily exercise that is recommended. As a result, gardening can help seniors maintain or even increase their levels of mobility and strength and utilize all their motor skills. Being outdoors can also improve Vitamin D levels.
Finally, gardening delivers social benefits. For many residents, a love of gardening serves as a gateway to establishing friendships within the community. On-campus garden clubs further instill a sense of camaraderie.
No doubt, local senior living communities’ commitment to providing residents with a connection to the natural world is one of the reasons why Lancaster County is regarded as one of the best places to retire in the United States.
While senior-living communities won’t be hosting their annual Explore Retirement Living tour this fall due to the pandemic, they welcome you to visit virtually or by scheduling a private tour. For more information, visit exploreretirementliving.org.