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Spring is in the Air


Jaime Allen

MAPA Marketing Chair and Secretary, CNA, Death Midwife, Creating Senior Friendly VR

Take a niiice deep breath.. Do you feel it, Twin Cities?


Spring is an incredible time of reawakening for the body, mind and soul, especially here in Minnesota. It marks another year begun, providing all the necessities of life. Luring us outdoors, into the fresh air and muddied grounds.


As life enrichment professionals, it's our job to help residents tune into the renewal and growth of the season through engaging activities, no matter what their personal interests or abilities. With warmer weather and longer days ahead, there are plenty of inclusive outdoor and indoor activities for seniors to enjoy. This article is the first in a series, highlighting spring activities that will keep all of your senior living residents connected, active, learning and fully engaged! Today, let's talk about...



Plants in tray spring garden plant seniors

GARDENING


Gardening is a popular activity for older adults, year round. But, spring gardening's cherished traditions provide us the opportunity to get outside, enjoy some fresh air and get our hands dirty for the first time in a long time.




SENIOR COMMUNITY GARDEN TIPS


Your local library or city parks and rec department are wonderful resources for affordable seeds and plants. Find your nearest seed library in the metropolitan area library system for a wide variety of FREE seeds. And, learn how to save seeds with your residents to replenish next year's library!

planting older adult women gardening activity life enrichment senior living community garden MN Minnesota Twin Cities senior living activities

Find out about the plants you're growing. Chances are, you can learn a lot from your residents, here. So, make this a community conversation!



Not a green thumb in the bunch? You can look up care basics for specific plant species at The Spruce or use this super helpful Gardening 101 article for a great primer! Learning together strengthens the bonds between you and your community!


Don't worry about the size or even success of your garden. Have fun with it and your friends will, too!


Plan your space, making sure it's clear of fall hazards and is easy to navigate for garden helpers.


Make sure you provide senior-friendly tools that are easy to access and safe for residents to handle.

senior male older adult planting potting spring garden community garden senior living activities ideas

Use raised surfaces to lessen knee and back stress. Provide pads for residents who prefer to kneel.


If you lack a garden bed or other designated space, try container gardening! Plastic containers and glass jars from the kitchen can even be used (thank goodness for food service sizing).


Create a care plan that involves multiple residents. You can find a ton of FREE printables to organize your community garden here! My favorites are the Garden Plan Worksheet, Monthly Planting Planner, Plant Profile and Seed Tracker, previewed below.



A good ol' fashioned calendar works perfectly for the community watering schedule. Watering is best done in the morning and evening to prevent heat-related stress for older adults.


To that effect, STAY HYDRATED!


Make it easy by providing fresh water nearby. Or, gift your garden helpers with a water bottle to bring with them - it's an exclusive bonus they'll be proud of and a great reminder to keep drinking!



Already have a mature garden? Move it to the next level by creating a composting program. Collect organic scraps after meals and use it to nourish next year's soil. It's a great learning opportunity, super fun and a conscientious step towards a more earth-friendly community!


Make it fun and play some good music! Search "Spring" or "Garden" themed music on your streaming service. Or, try a FREE YouTube playlist, like the one below!



INCLUSIVITY IS KEY


Gardening in a senior living community is truly best as a team effort. Whether you're in IL, AL, MC or a care center, there's something for everyone to do! If there are residents who want to help, find a way for them to be involved, no matter what their cognitive and physical ability or restrictions. All of gardening can be done perfectly indoors on a lap tray. So, make sure to at least offer a part of this experience to everyone.