Aging and the Joy of Gardening

With trowel in hand and soil under their nails, gardening for many seniors has become more than an activity – it is a way of life, philosophy, ritual, source of joy and satisfaction, form of meditation practice daily sense of responsibility exercise that improves strength and flexibility and triggers the release of feel-good chemicals such as serotonin while simultaneously decreasing cortisol stress hormone levels.

But why does gardening bring out the best in us? How is it that even an ordinary patch of grass can make us feel at peace and welcome? And how does it relate to Eriksonian care, an essential factor in successful aging?

Gardening has long been recognized for its positive aging effects, with plenty of research supporting its positive aging benefits. Like other leisure activities proposed to enhance quality of life such as social engagement and productive endeavors, physical exercise, and the restorative qualities of nature; gardening also appears to contribute positively to self-perceptions related to aging; major factors include restoration benefits as well as physical benefits of gardening.