Many of today’s elder generations grew up with a garden, even if they lived in a town or small city. During World War II, Victory Gardens were very common; vegetables, fruit and herbs were grown to help each family provide its own food instead of relying on others during the war effort.
Those in their 70s and older likely remember helping their family plant and harvest. Creating a small container garden today would bring back memories of that time as well as provide some fresh, tasty and nutritious items for them to eat!
If your family member has some outdoor space with good light, try a container garden. He or she might enjoy a trip to a local garden center to choose a pot, soil, and seeds or bedding plants. Many nurseries also offer pre-made container gardens or color bowls (a color bowl usually refers to flowers instead of food-producing plants, but offers just as much enjoyment).
Good vegetables to grow in containers include tomatoes, peppers (even green chile for New Mexico’s gardeners), sweet peas, spinach, lettuce, radishes, squash, and beans. The pot needs to have good drainage and some veggies like deeper soil or cooler weather, so ask the garden center or read the seed packages for more information.
Another benefit of container gardens for seniors is that it’s something to care for and to look forward to. A garden requires regular watering and it’s fun to watch for blossoms, then the development of the small tomato or squash. For those who are home-bound, it’s a positive, hopeful timeline to follow the progress of the growing plants.
Of course, be mindful of the mobility of the elderly person. If access to an outdoor hose is needed, make sure they can safely reach it and move about with stability. Balance is often a concern as people age. Safety at home is a priority for the residents we care for at FootPrints Home Care. Our role is to help your family member live at home for as long as possible. We assist with light housekeeping; showering, dressing and toileting; transportation; and meal preparation. We’ll help with watering those container gardens or including the fresh spinach or lettuce in a meal!
Across Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, and the Santa Fe region, FootPrints Home Care is here to be part of your family in offering compassionate care to your family member. If we can be of help, please reach out.