Barbara Friesner, who writes the wonderful AgeWiseLiving newsletter and created The Ultimate Caregiver's Success System, just sent around some tips she compiled for elder-friendly gardening. I have reprinted it below for those who love to muck around and those who just want to help the seniors in their lives continue a hobby they love, safely.
Article: Making the Garden Elder Friendly
the beginning of June but with this year’s weather, we are well into gardening
season. For so many Seniors, having their garden is a very big reason they want
to stay in their home. Not only does a garden look pretty and give an enormous sense of
satisfaction, (and attract birds and butterflies) but it’s also a great
exercise and promotes flexibility and strength which also helps prevent
osteoporosis and reduce stress.
there are lots of really good reasons to have a garden. However, some
people can have too much garden, and for them, the garden can be
overwhelming. They can easily get it under control by reducing the size
of the garden to what they can easily manage and then hiring a gardener or a
neighbor kid to take care of the rest.
some people want a garden but have only a little bit of space – or none at
all. For those with no space at all, container gardens are a great
solution. (So you can have a garden in an apartment, too.) They can be
inside or out and you can plant anything in them (fruits, vegetables, flowers,
shrubs, trees). Plus they can be any size, shape or height you want.
Check out ContainerGardening
for more pictures of container gardens.
If you have any
outdoor space at all, I am a huge proponent of raised garden beds. They
are great for seniors and anyone who can’t, or doesn’t want, to spend hours on
their knees, killing their back! According to raised-garden-beds.com,
there are other great reasons for raised bed gardening, too.
roots need air. In an ordinary garden, you can’t avoid stepping in
the garden bed occasionally when doing your everyday gardening. With
the raised garden, you garden from the path and not pack down the soil.
beds tend to drain away excess moisture better than ordinary garden
beds. This is another advantage that helps the plant roots to
breath. In areas that have saturated soil like Florida and many
areas of the South, raised beds may be the only way you can grow many
types of plants.
conditions and types can be controlled more efficiently in a raised bed
and they can be varied easily from bed to bed. Raised beds are the
answer when topsoil is thin.
fertilizer, compost, mulch, etc. can be applied more carefully because
they only need to be applied to the garden beds.
studies have shown that raised garden beds produce 1.4 to 2 times as much
vegetables and flowers per square foot as ordinary beds, due mainly to the
above advantages so you can have a smaller and more manageable garden and
still produce more.
But as the
years go by, even container and/or raised gardens can be tough on the
body. So here is some advice from gardening expert, Rebecca
Kolls, on how to keep the strain to the body to a minimum.
up by doing a few stretches before starting any gardening activities and
working with your garden tools. Doing this will help reduce any muscle soreness
you may experience later on.
plenty of liquids (avoiding alcohol), to keep your body well hydrated.
sure to take care of cuts, bruises scrapes and insect bites right away to
help avoid infection.
in the garden early in the morning or late in the day to avoid blazing
midday sun and heat which can make even the healthiest senior ill or
comfortable clothes and shoes
a hat and gloves to cover exposed skin and use sunscreen to protect
against sunburn and sun damage.
you start to feel fatigued, take a break for a few moments.
your gardening tasks every half hour or so.
using tools that will put you in awkward body positions. If possible, take
advantage of the new breed of ergonomic garden tools which are designed to
reduce strain and injury because they work in conjunction with your body
movements. Check out the Today Show’s Home &
Garden segment about gadgets that will help keep seniors in the
garden. (There are so many great new gardening tools out there, it
almost makes me wish I were a gardener!)
your tools sharp, well oiled and in good working condition. This will help
avoid resistance when using them and cut down on the manpower needed to
execute certain tasks. Remember that proper body positioning will minimize
muscle soreness and fatigue.
that you have all this great information . . . go play in the dirt!
AgeWiseLiving™ 2010 Barbara E. Friesner, Generational Coach
and adjunct professor at Cornell University, is creator of “The
Ultimate Caregiver’s Success System"™, the ultimate eldercare
instruction manual that shows you exactly how to resolve your eldercare issues
by choice, not crisis. To get your F.R.E.E. downloadable MP3 and receive
Barbara’s weekly eldercare success articles, visit www.AgeWiseLiving.com.
I recently met with a new client, who mentioned he had a long term care insurance policy. He had not brought the policy with him to our consultation so I asked, "Do you know if your policy is a partnership policy?" He answered "Everything my wife and I did in our 57 year marriage has been a partnership." Very touching, but clearly he knew nothing about a policy that he has been paying premiums on for years. I thought it was time to add a link with some information to this site in hopes that others might benefit from it. For those who do not know, a partnership policy for long-term care has special benefits that non-partnership policies do not. The biggest benefit is that if you have a partnership policy and use up all of the benefits under it you can automatically qualify for Medicaid assistance. There are variations, however, and not all policies are alike. Since 2006 we have "total asset protection" policies and "partial asset protection" policies available to us. I have written about this before; your financial advisor may not be the best person to sell you this insurance. You need someone who specializes in long-term care policies so that you receive proper advice tailored to your situation. Once you know the appropriate policy for you you should then go back to your advisor to work out the best method to pay the premiums (here is a good way to bleed out an annuity you purchased before you learned how bad they are for most people).
The New York State Partnership for Long-Term Care has great "faqs" on partnership policies. Check out the frequently asked questions here. When you are ready to explore further, please call me to discuss how these policies (and non-partnership policies) can streamline your long term planning options. If you're already researching and need a licensed expert to sell you the appropriate policy, please call me for referrals.
The Center for Medicare Advocacy has launched a new effort to combat the requirement for "improvement" to continue Medicare covered health services. This unlawful (in fact, absent) requirement often cuts services for individuals who have been sent to skilled nursing facilities for rehabilitation care, which means that a person can stay at the nursing home but without any Medicare reimbursement to cover the exorbitant daily rate (often $350 or more in the Rochester area). This oft-quoted but unwritten rule seriously harms individuals with chronic diseases, such as Parkinson's, ALS, MS and other ongoing problems that by their nature cannot improve.
Please check the link for self-help advocacy materials and do contact the Center if you or your family has been affected by a determination to terminate care.
New York adopted the Family Health Care Decisions Act this spring, effective as of June 1, 2010. The New York State Bar Association just opened their own resource center as a place for anyone interested in learning more about this legislation to have a one-stop shop for information.