Indoor gardening is a thrilling hobby for many seniors. Plant care offers several health benefits, and some species of plants can flourish even with little maintenance.
Plants can absorb air pollutants, decompose noxious chemicals released by carpeting, furniture, household cleaners, and building materials, remove carbon dioxide from the air, and emit oxygen.
If people smoke within your loved one’s home, plants can protect him or her from inhaling harmful chemicals. Fresh, oxygenated air also averts drowsiness and headaches.
In 1989, NASA reported the results of a two-year study evaluating the effects of 19 houseplants on indoor air quality. Certain plants excel as air filters, removing 87 percent of pollutants within 24 hours.
Plants ward off respiratory problems by removing microbes, humidifying air, and absorbing dust. A study conducted by the Agricultural University of Norway found that houseplants can reduce cold-related illnesses by 30 percent.
According to a Texas Agriculture and Medicine University study, caring for plants can increase empathy, enhance relationships, provide a sense of purpose, raise self-esteem, and reduce depression.
In 2007, Dutch researchers found that the company of plants lowers stress. People in hospitals with plants in their rooms reported less anxiety and tension than those without plants. They also required less pain medication.
Research implies that plant care is one of the best activities to boost a senior’s health and wellbeing and help him or her stave off a number of diseases. Here is a list of six plants your loved one can easily care for.
1. African Violet (Saintpaulia)
This plant is notable for its velvety leaves and silky flowers. African violet thrives in bright light. If exposure to bright light isn’t possible, place the plant directly under artificial light for at least eight hours daily. Plants with dark green leaves need more light than those with pale green foliage.
Your loved one should water when the soil surface feels dry. Water should be lukewarm, and it should be applied below leaves, directly on soil. Water sprinkled on leaves causes them to spot. Feed the plant with African violet fertilizer, with a nutrient ratio of 15-30-15. To encourage blooming, remove faded flowers.
If your aging loved one needs assistance with gardening or other daily activities, consider hiring a professional caregiver. Bloomfield Township home care experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently.
2. Arrowhead Vine (Syngonium)
Also called goosefoot plant, the prettiest species of arrowhead vine is yellow and green. Syngonium prefers medium light but will tolerate low levels. Your loved one should water when the topsoil is dry and avoid exposing the plant to temperatures below 60°F.
To prevent floppy stems, control trailing with pruning. Your loved one should cut stems back when they start to climb, and feed the plant monthly.
3. Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema)
This upright growing plant has a graceful appearance, and its leaves are typically dark green with pale green markings. The plant thrives in medium and bright light but will grow slowly in low light. It prefers a minimum temperature of 60°F. Your loved one should water when the surface soil is powdery dry.
Your loved one can keep leaves shiny by wiping them once weekly with a soft, damp cloth. Feed twice every year with general purpose houseplant fertilizer.
Caring for a plant can be a rewarding yet physically challenging experience. If your aging loved one needs occasional help with bathing, grooming, cooking, or other basic household tasks, or if you need time to attend to important personal matters, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of live-in and respite care. Bloomfield Hills seniors can maintain their independence while living at home with the help of our reliable respite caregivers.
4. English Ivy (Hedera Helix)
Dainty vines make English ivy ideal for hanging baskets. This plant fares best in bright filtered light. As it doesn’t like drafts, it should be kept away from open doors, windows, and vents. When caring for this plant, your loved one should maintain evenly moist soil and mist once daily to keep spider mites at bay.
Your loved one should feed English ivy monthly with a balanced liquid fertilizer that has a 20-20-20 nutrient profile. When the woody stems have few leaves, he or she should prune them back to where leaves are abundant.
5. Golden Pothos (Epipremnum Aureum)
Also known as devil’s ivy, this trailing plant has yellow and green leaves. Filtered sunlight yields the most vibrant leaf color. Pothos also grows in low light, and its trailing nature suits hanging pots and training on a trellis.
To maintain fullness, your loved one should prune back leggy stems, cutting just above where the leaf meets the stem. Surface soil should dry to a powder before watering, and it should be fertilized every three months with general purpose plant food.
6. Peperomia (Peperomia Species)
This member of the pepper family is available in many distinctive varieties such as the watermelon plant, emerald ripple, baby rubber plant, teardrop peperomia, and radiator plant. Growth patterns include compact, trailing, and upright. Leaves can be ridged or smooth and shiny.
Numerous colors are available, including red, silver, green, striped, variegated, and marbled. Some species have red or pink stems, and flowers can take the form of slender spikes.
While plant characteristics vary, care follows a basic standard. They should be placed in bright light, in rooms with a minimum temp of 60°F. Avoid direct sun, as it will bleach the leaves. Peperomia also fares well under daylong artificial light.
Your loved one should water the peperomia when the top ½ inch of the soil is dry. As with African violet, he or she should avoid getting water on the leaves. During spring and summer, it should be fertilized once monthly.
Gardening and caring for plants is a wonderful way to keep several diseases at bay. Living with a serious health condition can make it challenging for seniors to age in place. However, they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional live-in care. West Bloomfield Township seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more. Whether your senior loved one needs assistance with a few daily chores or comprehensive 24-hour home care, call Home Care Assistance at 248.283.0835.