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Stay at Home Solutions blogs on topics such as aging in place, universal design, adaptive equipment, home modifications, accessibility, durable medical equipment, legislation, and caregiving.

Posts in physical activity
6 Ways to Garden for Life!
Garden photo by Unsplash

Garden photo by Unsplash

“Gardening adds years to your life and life to your years.”

-Unknown

I’m an enthusiastic amateur gardener! It makes me feel happy and alive to watch my plants attract wildlife.

Interestingly enough, gardening helps you feel good in your mind and body. People who garden tend to be active in later years and retain their strength and balance. It’s one of the best types of gentle exercise!

I love gardening most of all because it’s a great option to help you live at home for a lifetime!

You don’t have to be an experienced, master grower with a massive amount of land to reap the benefits of gardening. Whether you’ve got a couple of plants or a quarter acre, you’ll benefit from six tips to help you garden for life!

1) Warm Up Those Muscles!

I just mentioned that gardening is a form of exercise! Let’s not pull any muscles today! Before heading outside, stretch those major body muscle groups: back, shoulders, chest, legs, and glutes. If you need some stretching inspo, check out this 3 and ½ minute video from Go4Life!

2) Wear the Right Clothing!

Mother Nature invented some gnarly looking plants! Sometimes the thorn bushes and trees at my place remind me of the hellscape in my nightmares!

Long sleeved shirt by J. Crew

Long sleeved shirt by J. Crew

To properly protect my skin from scratches and too much sun, I wear light-weighted clothing with long sleeves and pants. I also wear a wide-brimmed hat to keep those sun spots away from my face!

Some people tell me, “I don’t want to wear long sleeves because I’ll sweat more.”

Well, guess what? In Missouri and Kansas, you’re going to sweat a lot regardless of what you’re wearing! Check out athletic long sleeved clothing that wicks away moisture from the skin. This type of clothing seems to be ubiquitous at every large retailer!

Lastly, keep in mind that gardening before 10 A.M. and after 2 P.M. helps you avoid the strongest sunshine! You’ll stay cooler gardening early in the morning or late in the evening.

3) Water, water everywhere!

Sip water before, during, and after gardening! Dehydration is super sneaky, especially in warmer weather! I’m a coffee drinker in the morning, but the problem is the caffeine makes me lose water faster when I’m gardening in the sun!

I make sure I have my 30 oz water container on hand when working outside. I try to take sips every 15-30 minutes to replace the water I’m losing through this type of exercise.

Sorry to gross you out, but I need to share a great tip! A good way to see that you’re getting enough water is to look at the color of your urine when you use the bathroom. If your urine is clear to light yellow, congratulations! You’re drinking enough water!

If the urine is a dark yellow, you better drink, drink, drink!

Bonus: My water breaks allow me to rest my body at the same time! Resting the body is equally as important as keeping it active.

I’m not getting an injury from a repetitive gardening task!

4) Choose Ergonomic Tools

Ergonomic garden tools by Radius Garden

Ergonomic garden tools by Radius Garden

Although gardening is exercise, we don’t want to work TOO HARD! Use gardening tools with long, curved handles for easier grip and leverage. These types of tools will prevent injuries, like wrist strain.

You can find ergonomic tools at most stores and online shopping. If the budget is tight, see if you can build up the handles on your existing tools using materials like foam tubing or an old t-shirt. It’s amazing how a little change to the handle can improve your ability to grip the tool!

5) Dust off that Radio Flyer!

Use a wagon to carry your equipment around. Carrying around a lot of tools and plants at once is hard no matter how big of a garden you’ve got! Work smarter, not harder, and put your equipment in a wagon.

Wagons also help you keep track of your tools better. Just place the tool you’re not using inside the wagon and you won’t have any stragglers!

6) Working on the Knees?

Kneeler stool photo by Gardeners.com

Kneeler stool photo by Gardeners.com

It doesn’t matter what your age is, gardening on your knees can be rough! Knee pads, chair cushions, and foam pads can protect those bony prominences from rocks and hard surfaces.

Need a little more help getting up and down from the ground? Try using a kneeler stool! These stools are typically double sided where you can kneel and sit on it depending on if it’s right side up or upside down. The handles are mounted on either side for your hands to push against. It’s a nifty invention!

Have you considered other knee-saving solutions? Raised beds or container gardening allows you to bend less and work in a sitting or standing position. You can create raised beds between one foot or as high as your waist! Instead of spending a lot of money constructing new raised beds, I use outdoor furniture to raise certain plants up higher for me to easily trim.

Raised garden bed photo by DIY Network

Raised garden bed photo by DIY Network

Vertical gardening works the same way, although you may be working with specific types of plants that like to creep upwards, like cucumber and melons. I’ve seen other people use material like posts or fencing to help plants climb while they grow. It seems as though plants can be pretty determined and will climb almost anything. You don’t need to garden a lot of different types of plants to get great exercise!


It doesn’t matter if you garden two or 22 plants, gardening is excellent for your health! Gardening maintains the physical fitness you need to stay at home for a lifetime! You don’t need intense exercise programs to get the same benefits! Gardening is the right amount of work for me!

Share your tips on how you make gardening easier in the comments below or on our social media! We love hearing your stories on how gardening has impacted your life. You never know, your experience may help someone else in a positive way!

Remember, you better do it before you need it!


Easy Gardening Tips

Okay, Kansas City! The weather has consistently been non-wintry, and it’s making me want to garden outside every day again.

Gardening has a lot of excellent benefits. It’s a form of exercise, lifts the mood, gives you Vitamin D from the sun, relieves stress, prevents illness, lowers risk of dementia, makes your yard beautiful, and grows yummy produce! Gardening: everybody’s doing it.

So why don’t you get back outside using these gardening tips I painstakingly researched? Keep reading to pick up knowledge!

Since gardening is a form of exercise, be sure to warm up your muscles and stretch. For inspiration, click on this link for Go4Life

Next, you need to wear the proper attire. Put on lightweight clothing, long sleeves, and a hat to protect against the sun. Remember folks, we need the sun in moderation just like anything else. Too little sun, you get sick all the time. Too much sun, you become a dehydrated raisin. If you garden before 10 a.m. and after 2  p.m., you will avoid this problem.

Take sips of water while gardening. No pop or soda or coke (depending on where you hail from)! Caffeine + sun = even more dehydrated raisin. Make sure to take breaks every 15 to 30 minutes in the shade. This will give you a chance to drink the water!

Choose tools with long handles or curved handles for good leverage and grip. I know gardening is exercise, but I don’t need to work too hard! Look out for tools like ergonomic pruners that can prevent wrist strain. If you have a lot of pruning, keep your wrist in a neutral position and remember those breaks we talked about earlier!

Use a wagon to carry plants and tools to save time and muscle strain. You can paint the wagon and tools bright colors to stand out from your green and brown garden. Let’s see, I would paint my tools a neon yellow or pink. Maybe neon pink with yellow dots! What colors would you choose?

Kneeling on the ground while gardening can become tricky! If you do kneel, place one knee and one foot on the ground like this. 

DIY Network

DIY Network

Consider a kneeler stool to help the back, hips, and knees! It has handles for you to use your arms to help push to stand. You can also flip it over and sit on the stool portion. Anyone whose legs fall asleep while kneeling can raise their fists in victory!

The best back savers are raised garden beds. They can be as tall as one foot or waist high. It doesn’t matter the height, as long as it guarantees your ability to garden. Vertical gardening is another terrific option for gardening, especially with plants that love to climb like cucumbers and melons!

If you have any gardening tips to add, please share them with me! Gardening is an activity for a lifetime that goes hand in hand with your home for a lifetime. Why don’t you do it before you need it? Contact me to help you find ways to garden easier!

Resources: DIY Network, University of Missouri Extension, Agrability, Era Living.

Pet Care for Life Recap!

This past Friday, I posted a video about how to make sure you are able to care for your furry friends no matter your age or ability. Click here to watch it!

Although my video was heavily geared towards dogs (you caught me), I did provide some tips that can help out you cat, bunny, guinea pig, chinchilla, etc. lovers out there! 

Remember, adult or senior pets can be ideal pets if you do not have the time or ability to train an energetic puppy. Animals of all ages need our love just like humans!

I covered changes you can make in your home to make pet care easier. For lots of pictures and examples, please click here to go to my Pinterest board, "Pets"! Personally, I am definitely going to install a pet washing station in my laundry room to avoid back pain while washing my 60 lb dog, Bea! She runs away from the hose outside! I need to confine her!

Cole Lindbergh, 2018  We need a dog door that prevents carcass entry.

Cole Lindbergh, 2018

We need a dog door that prevents carcass entry.

In the video, I also discussed pet care equipment that you will absolutely love. The top item that you all raved about was the smart phone triggered feeder by Petnet! Limit your reaching and bending to feed Fluffy by filling the container with her food. Now you control her meal time and portion size with your smart phone.

We also talked about good old-fashioned long handled food and water bowls like this one from Graceful Pets. You can find all different brands and prices on Amazon. This is particularly helpful for people with a knee or hip replacement!

I am a fan of saving my back and your back! Picking up a wiggly 60 lb dog is absolutely not happening for me. Luckily, there is a way for Bea to climb in the bed or car. Look into this for yourself!

Funny story: I worked with a client once who could not see very well. She owned a dog whose beige fur matched the beige carpet color exactly. This dog had its own unintentional camouflage, which made it a huge fall risk for my client with low vision! To avoid falls, we put a navy colored bandana on the dog to help Fido stand out from the carpet. This helped my client feel safer when walking around in the house.

Please comment down below and share tips you have to save your back and energy while caring for your pets! Make sure to follow me on Pinterest for more pins and ideas on taking care of our extended furry family.

Guess What? More Social Media!

I created an Instagram account, @stayathomesolutions, to share interesting information on home modifications, aging in place, adaptive equipment, smart home technology, durable medical equipment, and universal design. These topics will enhance independence for you or for people you may know in a fun way! I am a big proponent of enjoying your life no matter your ability or experience.

Social media allows me to better explain my ideas and thoughts. What social media platforms do you like to use? Are you mainly a Facebook user? Pinterest? Tell me in the comments below!

Please click on the links below to take a look at my other social media:

Pinterest

Facebook

YouTube

As always, please message or call me if you would like for me to delve into a specific topic or product!

Never Give up Sports! Ever!!

On Friday, I posted a video on Facebook that gave tips on how to “Never Give up Sports! Ever!!” Kaitlyn McManus graciously shared her experience with helping children with low vision ski independently. She wrote an article for OT Practice detailing how she assisted one particular child in his goal to ski on his own using supports tailored for him. Kaitlyn also discussed a couple of simple ways for people of all ages to continue cycling and playing tennis to minimize stress on body joints.

Pexels

Pexels

In addition to the video, I wanted to share inspirational stories from older adult athletes from this Reader’s Digest article. I am particularly fond of Anna McGowan, an avid participant in long jump, shot put, and discus. She has competed in the National Senior Games since 1987 and took up sports to help cope with the loss of her husband at the age of 50 years old. Anna McGowan said the secret to healthy aging is, “doing what you feel like doing.” Another great article is from CBS, which highlights 43 athletes from the 2011 National Senior Games. After reading these stories, I personally felt my heart strings tug and a strong desire to take my dog on a brisk walk in the neighborhood.

Pexels

Pexels

If you consider yourself a beginner at working out, Reader’s Digest published an article encouraging people to first talk with your doctor and complete a physical exam to rule out any conditions that may put you at risk for harm. Your doctor will suggest certain physical activities and ways to monitor vitals such as your pulse and breathing. Next, consider consulting with a personal trainer to find exercises or group classes that meet your interests and physical health. Beginners are invited to go slow during workouts to build endurance and strength and to avoid injury. For more tips on how to make exercise a lifestyle change, check out the National Senior Games Association and American Council on Exercise portal at https://nsga.acefitness.org/.

Researchers Say This About Falls. . .

According to the Journal of American Medical Association, a combination of fall prevention programs reduces the risk of injurious falls for older people. Researchers conducted a meta-analysis with 54 studies which showed exercise, vision assessment, home environmental assessment and modification, calcium supplementation, and vitamin D supplementation were associated with reductions in falls resulting in injury. Researchers stated the choice in fall prevention program came from patient and caregiver values and preferences. 

Stay at Home Solutions addresses all of the above fall prevention strategies. During the home evaluation, we conduct a vision screen, address medication management (including vitamin supplements), exercise or physical activity, and assess how the individual moves around or accesses what they need in the home environment. We are a holistic company that considers all of the needs and wants of the person in their home. Contact us to learn more.

Let Me Help You Prevent Falls!

Every 20 minutes an older adult dies from a fall at home in the U.S. according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Research shows three things can help prevent falls at home and in the community: home modification, physical activity, and medication management. Stay at Home Solutions can help you address all three ways to prevent falls with our skilled occupational therapy services. 

For some people, engaging in physical fitness can be more challenging. An example of this is people with Alzheimer's disease. Check out this article for caregivers on how to help a loved one with Alzheimer's stay physically fit!

Please contact us to help you, a friend, or family member find the best way to prevent falls!