“Gardening is cheaper than therapy…” as someone very thoughtfully said. But what if you are already getting therapy for your backache?
Gardening is a matter of passion, a sense of liveliness that brings joy even when alone. The fruits and flowers that bloom bring along with them a new oomph in their life. It is an opportunity to display the hidden colors within oneself; the hobby that heals.
My uncle, who is 75 year old now, has been into gardening ever since I can recall. He has a big lawn in front of his house full of roses, dahlias, bleeding heart shrubs and some seasonal flowering plants. After retirement he totally occupied himself with gardening. However, after a year of his retirement, arthritis crept in. With pain setting in his joints, it became very difficult for my uncle to even water the plants. All he could do was to sit and watch as my cousin watered the plants and the hired gardener trimmed and shaped the bushes. He found his happiness in merely watching them now.
For those experiencing a similar situation, here are 7 steps to gardening with arthritis.
7 steps to gardening with arthritis
- Limit employment of hands: Try not to get involved in any other activities that put more stress on your hands. For example, if you are planning to make bread for dinner, make the dough a day before so that there is enough room for picking garden the next day. It is more or less like “preparing a budget”. You remove certain costs to spend somewhere else.
- Borrow a hand: Give away some simple tasks that can be done by anyone else, like watering or digging a trench, and keep the most artistic refinements for yourself. There may be certain particular things that only you are capable of doing; which you want to be done in a fixed manner. Leave the rest with someone else.
- Employ a hand: If you have the funds to do so. Sometimes to get the correct helping hand can be testing. You can always search for those who are amateurs in gardening and want to get some training from a senior to learn the intricacies. They can be teenagers or florist new to the hobby. It is also a nice opportunity to make new friends, get along with new people and spend some time with all those interested in the same hobby that you have.
- Give your hands a warm-up: Gardening outdoors tend to freeze your hands very soon. A very easy remedy is to put your hands in a little hot water bath for 5 minutes wearing fine rubber gloves. You can also a hot wax machine if can get some help at it. But the hot water dip is simplest method.
- Avoid setting chore-limits: Doing too much gardening one day may exhaust your energy and also induce pain in the joints due to overwork. Set time limits instead. Setting a time limit also makes you allot certain amount of duration everyday to do things in synchronized manner. It also lets you concentrate more and enjoy the rest of the time doing something else that takes your mind away from gardening and hence becoming less stressed and more skilled at it.
- Utilize both hands: Holding or lifting and transporting a weight can be less strenuous if you can use both your hands or the whole hand instead of pinching to lift it using only two or three fingers. Try to make use of both hands while you work at the garden. Distributing the weight can reduce pressure on your hands.
- Keep it cutting edge: We need to exert more pressure while chopping and cutting if the gardening tools are not sharp enough. Tools designed especially for those suffering from arthritis are available in the market.
- Feel the sunshine: With age comes the loss of some vital nutrients in our body. The sun being the best source of Vitamin D can help to compensate for the loss of it. Always remember to take a sun bath once in a while.
- Record what you say: With the advent of technology, it has become very convenient to communicate. There are softwares that can interpret voice into written words. This helps you avoid typing and keeping you hands-free.
- Keep active:Physiotherapy exercises and treatments are very helpful in easing out the pain and to maintain your normal lifestyle. Also it is beneficiary to practice any kind of hobby that you want to keep your mind off the disease.
For any assistance regarding treatment you always have us on your side. However, we can help you recover but to keep yourself going is what you need to do. Stay active. Stay full of life. Stay colourful.
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