Your garden: making it safe and accessible to the elderly
The general public has been more conscientious in regards to their own health than they ever have been before; this means people are living longer than they ever have in previous generations.
Advanced healthcare infrastructures, healthier diets and improved exercise routines are widely credited with extending our lifespans. By 2039, the Office for National Statistics predicts that one in 12 people will be over the age of 80 and people born in 2013 are likely to live to 100 years old.
However, the longer we live, the harder it can be to do the things that we once enjoyed. In response to an ageing population, people have started to become conscious of how the elderly can enjoy themselves for longer in later life.
The garden is often a focus for older people or those who are retired, as it gives them the freedom to remain outdoors and tend to a part of the home on a regular basis. Usually, the garden takes pride of place, so it’s no surprise that older people enjoy spending time in it. However, gardening can often be strenuous work. Bending and stretching down regularly can often result in pain for some elderly people, so gardening can become a chore rather than an enjoyable part of day to day life.
In addition to this, elderly gardeners can also experience unpleasant experiences in their gardens if they aren’t careful. Figures obtained by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents suggest that in 2007, there were 115,000 recorded garden falls, slips and trips, which would be particularly unpleasant for any gardener old or young. In light of these statistics, it’s important to make sure that our gardens always remain safe – especially for the elderly and the vulnerable.
Flowerbeds that aid mobility
As we get older, bending over to reach flowerbeds and to plant flowers in the soil becomes even more difficult. This is particularly difficult when you’re trying to reach plants in a corner, or a collection of plants that are the width of the flower bed.
Raised flowerbeds are a great option if you want ease of access and don’t want to be reaching down all of the time. If you don’t want them too far off the ground, then we would recommend beds that are 18-24 inches high. However, if you’d like beds with even greater accessibility, opt for a height of between 30 to 36 inches off the ground.
Making a garden to relax in
A garden should never just be a place where you’re considering easy access points, it should also be a place where you can relax and unwind with friends and family. Outdoor furniture, such as outdoor sofas, can really help create a relaxing indoor space outdoors. If you’d like to be immersed in a more natural setting, then you should incorporate your furniture within flowerbeds, so that you’re surrounded flowerbeds and features you’ve created within this space.
Decking that’s accessible
Decking can provide a modern, contemporary feel to your outdoor space, but it can also instil an extra layer of depth and somewhere to sit to enjoy the rest of your garden. Low-slip decking can provide elderly users peace of mind and stability so that this space can be enjoyed by both the young and old.
Hand rails can also provide extra support for your decking, or somewhere to lean when standing. As well as this, the rail can provide helpful easy access to the decking, but remember that you’ll need a professional to install this or it could become a potential hazard in your garden.