Have you ever considered how you might manage to continue to garden as you have more birthday’s? That was the focus of the Hardin County Master Gardener Volunteer’s 6th annual An Evening Garden Affair.
On June 25th at the Friendship Gardens of Hardin County, the Hardin County Master Gardeners hosted Laura Akgerman, Disability Service Coordinator, from the Ohio State University Extension Ohio AgrAbility Program to present a public program on Gardening with Arthritis and Gardening as We Age. The crowd of 75 included OSU Extension Master Gardener Volunteers from four different county programs and local interested gardeners. Laura was impressed with the crowd size, stating that it was the largest crowd she had ever had for an AgrAbility program.
Laura presented suggestions to help change our gardening habits now to relieve some of the pains and difficulties we might experience later in life or that we already are seeing in our gardening chores. She stressed listening to our bodies, as pain is a good indicator that we are doing something the wrong way. Beginning our work with a stretching session, working during the cool of the day, and drinking plenty of water are helpful. Interjecting some humor into her presentation, she suggested making sure you have planned a way to get back up before you get down on your knees to work.
She also brought along several adapted tools to demonstrate ways to reduce the stress on our joints. Tools designed with larger grips, a thumb rest on the top of the handle, ergonomic designed handles or handles with extensions and those designed to increase leverage were demonstrated. One of her favorites is a wheeled seat that can allow you to sit and scoot while performing your gardening tasks. These are called Universal Design. The goal is to reduce pains that might keep us from being involved the hobby we have spent years enjoying.
The Hardin County Master Gardener Volunteers welcomed everyone in attendance to tour the Friendship Gardens of Hardin County, ask questions of the Volunteers, and to enjoy light refreshments as they strolled the garden to considered the Universal Design items in the Garden, including a vertical garden, paved walks, and raised garden beds. We would encourage you to include this presentation in your county programs.