There are millions of people all over the world who would love to grow their own vegetables or have a small flock of chickens but feel they can’t because they have chronic health conditions that limit their mobility. It makes sense not to take on too much if you’re living with a long-term medical condition, but on the other hand, the benefits of gardening are immense, and it doesn’t have to be as hard as you might imagine.
Assessing your capabilities
The first step is to make a realistic assessment of what you’re capable of. This may be more complicated than you think because if you tend to spend most of your day resting and doing very little exercise, you won’t have the fitness levels that you could achieve.
Conversely, if you fight against your condition all the time in an effort not to let it govern your life, you’re probably so exhausted that the prospect of doing even more seems out of the question.
Numerous medical studies have proved that taking regular exercise is highly beneficial for people with chronic health problems, and that a lack of exercise inevitably makes symptoms worse. Arthritic joints seize up, blood flow becomes sluggish, you tend to put on weight, and stress levels increase. None of these effects is helping you manage your condition, but taking gentle, regular exercise each day improves blood flow, keeps you stronger and more supple, helps you maintain a healthy weight, and is great for reducing stress.
Gardening is a perfect form of exercise as it’s gentle and consistent, and you’ll enjoy the process so much it won’t even feel like exercise.
Many people with chronic health problems are on a reduced income because they aren’t able to work or have to work fewer hours or in less well-paid jobs than they’re capable of. Make sure that you’re receiving every benefit that you’re entitled to and taking advantage of concessions that are available to boost your income and make what you have go further.
You should also consider how you came to be in this position; would your state of health have been better if your healthcare provider had done more for you? Are you the victim of a medical misdiagnosis? If so, you could be entitled to compensation, which would be a great help in making your life more comfortable.
The best way to get going is to start small. A simple planter that you can sow with lettuce seeds is as good as anything, and you’ll soon find that the enjoyment of watching your seeds germinate and grow and harvesting fresh greens for the table is so rewarding you’ll be looking to add to your crops.
Planters and pots are ideal for people with chronic health problems, as there’s no heavy digging involved, no bending and stretching, and harvesting is easy.
There are many more gardeners aids you can use to make gardening easier, so have a look and see what’s available that could help you with your particular problems. The benefits of gardening are so many that it’s an activity you can be sure will improve your health and quality of life, so get started this spring.
Life as a grandma.. it's no 'quiet, restful days in the rocking-chair'. It's filled with activity, excitement and lots of family fun. Please share it with me.