Tips & Education

Embracing a Green Thumb: Gardening Enriches Life for Seniors

July 4th, 2023

CRISTA Senior Living Blog - Gardening enriches Life

At CRISTA Senior Living in Shoreline and Silverdale, WA, we know that gardening enriches life. Our residents have ample opportunity to sink their hands into fresh soil and grow beautiful plants and flowers.

The Benefits of Gardening for Seniors

One of our residents, Verlynn, at Crista Shores in Silverdale, WA said, When working our Crista Shores Pea Patch, you don’t just get vegetables and flowers, although that is great, you are also rewarded with sun, fresh air, exercise, and the companionship and advice of fellow pea patchers!

We completely agree! And we know that, as we age, it becomes increasingly important to engage in activities that promote physical, mental, and emotional well-being. According to the National Institute of Health, gardening is an ideal activity that enriches the lives of seniors.

Studies have shown that gardening and being in nature reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, and slows our heart rate. It is a great way to be physically active at your own pace, and it helps to build muscle and balance. One study found that moderate to heavy gardening for four or more hours a week significantly reduced mortality in a group of middle-aged to older men with heart disease.

Being in a garden evokes fond memories of younger years. This is especially true in CRISTA’s Garden of Memories, a rose garden in which roses have been purchased in memory of loved ones no longer with us. Memories that come to light in a garden can help bridge the past with the present and bring meaning to life, something especially helpful for those with memory loss or dementia.

Nurturing plants and seeing them flourish is a creative and rewarding experience that brings joy. Seniors are mentally stimulated as they plan gardens and tend them. Gardening brings a sense of purpose and accomplishment to all of us, and seniors especially.

Belonging to a gardening group and working with others reduces isolation. At CRISTA Senior Living in Shoreline, Mary Beth Peterson and Gloria Shults lead a team of residents who care for Garden of Memories, and anyone is welcome to help.

Emotional and Spiritual Well-Being are Fostered in a Garden

CRISTA Senior Living in Shoreline, WA is located in the middle of a 56-acre campus of fir trees, open lawns, wooded trails, and gardens. Residents can easily take a daily walk or tend to a raised flower bed on the grounds. Many also enjoy container gardening on their balconies and patios.

During COVID, Garden of Memories became a place of spiritual refreshment and gathering for church. Residents sang and listened to sermons from their balconies and patios facing the garden. Then, and now, it is also a place for family visits and quiet walks of reflection.

When you see and smell the roses it is easy to feel the blessings of God’s presence because it is all around you! It is a place where you can sit, rest, and feel cared for, said garden co-chair and Cristwood Park resident, Mary Beth.

Help for Obstacles to Gardening

When your knees begin to creak and back starts to ache, it can be hard to continue gardening, and you may be tempted to give up. Following the advice of many health professionals, don’t stop! There are many devices that can help overcome obstacles to this healthy and beneficial hobby.

Among other tools and techniques, AARP suggests the following:

  • A lightweight hose. Some of these even retract!
  • The Japanese hori hori, an all-purpose blade that makes digging easy.
  • Adjustable, telescopic rakes.
  • A kneeling pad or kneepads. You can buy these for only a few dollars.
  • Two-wheeled wheelbarrows for better balance, or a child’s wagon.
  • Elevated garden beds — better for everyone.
  • Clothing that protects you from the sun, ticks, and scratches. These include a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and farmers sleeves (stockings for your arms).

Whether on a small patch of dirt, in flowerpots, or a huge plot of land, gardening enriches life at every age. Embrace your green thumb and enjoy this beneficial activity, reaping its fruit for years to come.

To learn more about CRISTA Senior Living and see our gardens, visit

Make a Donation

Give Now

View Our Careers

Work for CRISTA

View COVID-19 Protocols

Learn More

What People Are Saying …

I would like to commend Cristwood Park staff on their efforts to protect themselves and their residents from COVID. It’s been a concern of ours since last March and we have been relieved to see so few cases in the Cristwood Park community. I would like to thank the staff and leadership for their diligence in maintaining good protocols throughout this pandemic.

CWP Family Member

CRISTA has been a warm, friendly atmosphere to be a part of these past two years. It encourages friendships that encourage a pleasant living environment.

Marty Victor, CWP

Exceptional personalized holistic care. Helps keep Mom’s mind active and she flourishes with the nurturing care. Especially of value currently given the COVID restrictions. We are genuinely pleased with our mom's care.

Resident's Daughter, Memory Care

Thinking back on all the great care you and your team have given her at CRISTA, we thank you for all that. I am sure it made a difference in the quality of her life.

I appreciate the personal relationship I have with the staff and the good communication they give me.

I am so stunned by all the amazing people who live at CRISTA. The depth of their stories, their experiences are so powerful. They are fascinating and I learn something new every day! Such a wealth of intellect, experiences, and fun loving people. I love living here.

Schedule Your Tour!

Request more info, schedule a tour, or connect with our expert staff to learn more about CRISTA Senior Living.

If you are looking for information on employment opportunities with CRISTA Senior Living, you can find out more on our Careers page.

For marketing and sales inquires, please contact our team at [email protected].