Spending time outdoors has always been beneficial for anyone, regardless of age. Children and adults can reap several health benefits when they stay at least 20 minutes outside every day. Seniors, in particular, will benefit significantly from having regular outdoor time. Exercising outside, which includes gardening, helps the elderly improve their flexibility and mobility. It also builds their endurance and strength. So make a senior-friendly outdoor space for them.
Gardening and simply basking under the sun helps seniors relax and lower their stress levels. Both of these have positive effects on their mental, emotional, and physical health.
Lastly, seniors can boost their intake of vitamin D naturally when they spend time outdoors regularly. This nutrient plays an important role in aiding the body in absorbing calcium, which is crucial for bone health and strength. It also helps regulate cell growth and muscle movement, as well as fights infection.
The lawn, of course, is the perfect place for the elderly to enjoy the outdoors. It is the ideal spot for them to bask in the sun and exercise.
With this area within their reach, they won’t have to drive, commute, or walk to the nearest park. As such, it is a safer spot for them to enjoy the benefits of spending time outdoors.
Senior-Friendly Landscape Design
Most seniors experience limited mobility and poor vision and agility. Because of these reasons, it is important to ensure that their lawns are safe and conducive for their activities, regardless of whether it is day or night.
Below are some tips from landscaping pros in Midlothian, Texas for making outdoor spaces safe, convenient, and friendly for seniors:
Sections make outdoor spaces more appealing and interesting. However, for seniors or families with elderly members, divided areas are doubly important.
Defined segments on the lawn help boost the safety and comfort of seniors when they are out on the lawn. These sections ensure they don’t trip over potted plants or bump into outdoor features that are not planned and incorporated into the landscape design properly.
For large lawns, ensure that there is ample separate space with plenty of seating where seniors can sit, think, or read a book. This area can double as an entertainment area where they can spend time with their families and friends.
If the property owners ask for a garden, recommend starting a vegetable in addition to a flowering plot. Aside from giving seniors the healthy activity of looking after the plants, they will love harvesting and cooking their own fresh herbs and vegetables.
The fresh produce will also help the seniors follow a nutritious diet and maintain a healthy body.
Add Plenty of Seating and Shades
No matter how much seniors love spending time outdoors, it doesn’t mean they will want to stay outside under the sun for long hours. Because of this, the landscape design should include lots of shade.
Installing a pergola or pavilion in the outdoor living section and other areas they frequent is a good option. Also, plant trees strategically around the lawn so that these can provide shade whenever the seniors are gardening or relaxing outside.
Additionally, aside from placing seating fixtures in the outdoor entertainment or living area, make sure they are strategically installed around the lawn. Keep in mind that older adults tend to get tired easily. As such, they need quick access to a place where they can sit and rest.
Regardless of where they will be placed, choose seating options that are comfortable and stable to ensure the comfort and safety of the elderly.
Make it Easy and Safe for Seniors to Move Through Space
Making sure the older adults can move from one place to another should be another priority for the landscape designer. Seniors should be able to get from point A to point B by taking the fewest steps possible.
As much as possible, eliminate steps since they can be causes of tripping and falling accidents. Use ramps as walkways and ensure they are spacious and easy to navigate.
If the lawn is sloped, consider having some areas re-graded and terraced to remove or minimize steps. This option also permits the easier installation of ramps.
To make the landscape more senior-friendly, install handrails on both sides of the ramp or steps if there are any. Additionally, make pathways and the entrances and exits to spaces wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs and other mobility aids.
Ensure Gardening is Easy for Seniors
Some seniors have physical restrictions that make bending difficult. To make gardening easier for them and help them avoid injuries, raise garden beds to an accessible level.
Moreover, recommend perennials instead of annuals. By doing so, the homeowners will have plants that are low-maintenance and will not take up plenty of their time.
Suggest adding woody shrubs around the lawn as well. They add color and appeal to the yard and do not require a lot of work to maintain them. The only maintenance these plants often need is some light pruning.
Lastly, watering is one of the most time-consuming gardening chores. Help the homeowner avoid this possibly back-breaking task by installing an irrigation system that will hydrate their lawn and plants sufficiently regardless of the weather conditions.
Choose the Right Features and Materials for the Landscaping Fixtures
For older adults who love bird watching, include feeder areas into the landscape.
If the homeowner requests a deck, choose a low-maintenance building material for the structure. Composite decking is an excellent option since it does not need regular sealing or staining. It can also be power washed, which is an easier way of cleaning this feature.
Also, choose building materials that are durable, stable, and non-slip for ramps and walkways to minimize risks and accidents outdoors as well.
Install Sufficient Lighting
Finally, adequate lighting improves the safety and security of senior homeowners. Because of this, it is important to ensure that the outdoor space is well-lit at night.
The deck, patio, or outdoor entertainment area should have sufficient lighting fixtures so that it can be used even at night. Additionally, all areas that can pose tripping and falling hazards should be well-lit, too.
Places that have steps and steep walkways should also be surrounded by lighting fixtures to ensure the safety of the homeowners and their guests when they are outdoors at night.
Creating a senior-friendly lawn can be challenging. If you want to turn your property into the perfect outdoor space for older adults, consider getting help from an established landscaping company in Waxahachie, Texas.