Part 11: Plants and Seniors On the Move

joan's journey - plantsWelcome Joan’s Journeyers. In all my chatter about preparation for senior living, and which items are going with me — or not, I’ve neglected to include my plants.

For many seniors, including me, gardening is a cherished hobby, providing fresh air, fine and gross motor skill exercise, mental and sensory stimulation, and a sense of accomplishment. Seniors who plant herbs and vegetables enjoy fresh and nutritious produce at valuable cost-savings. Nurturing flowers and flowering plants brings creativity and beauty to our lives.

According to the Rutgers Cook College Web site, social skills can be enhanced as seniors come together to grow gardens of plants, vegetables and flowers. Canes, walkers and wheelchairs cause no barriers in accessible senior communities. Seniors with gardening expertise can share their knowledge and gain self-worth. The side notes:

Conversations lead to friendships as social barriers drop. New and greater respect for neighbors of diverse cultures, backgrounds and lifestyles emerge from the community gardening experience.

Since my kitty Mia eats leaves and throws up, my condo only has three potted plants that are kept out of her reach. Each plant was a gift and has significance for me. I’d like to bring them with me when I relocate to senior living in California. However, after learning that when moving plants from state to state, either by professional van service or personal transportation, some plants are not allowed or may perish.Joan Journey - Plant Environment

Rather than chance mishaps, I’ve decided to re-pot my plants and give them to dear friends with green thumbs. The gifts will please my friends, and I will have the pottery, along with their memories, to decorate greenery in my new apartment.

Every senior living community I personally visited, and there are many, expressed the importance of its physical environment. Many activity calendars note fresh and artificial flower arranging classes. Regular meetings with residents and staff provide opportunities to explore activities such as gardening.

Recently, I spoke to Sam Rosenberg, long-time Executive Director of Holiday Villa East, a lovely senior residence in Santa Monica, CA. I asked Rosenberg if his community, situated in the heart of busy Los Angeles, has gardening for residents. He answered, “We have two lovely patios with planter boxes throughout. Residents may claim boxes for their own and plant and care for them. We don’t have classes for potting or flower arranging, but that does not mean we wouldn’t be open to starting one.”

For Joan’s Journeyers interested in gardening opportunities, check with Seniorhomes.com. Counselors are knowledgeable about amenities at senior living communities and are ready to guide clients in a “green thumb” direction.

Bloggers, if you have relocated with plants, please share your thoughts. At the end of this Post is a “Comments” box. For more information on how to move plants, check the Web sites: www.atlasvanlines.com/how-to-move/plants, and www.usda.gov.

As I wrap up this installment of Joan’s Journey, I’ll close with the disappointing update that my condo is still for sale. Perhaps the beautiful Baltimore spring and April showers will bring a buyer.

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Joan London is a freelance writer who specializes in senior and medical topics. London, who currently lives in Baltimore with her rescue cat Mia, plans to relocate to senior housing in Southern California in order to be closer to her children and grandchildren.

Read Part 12 of Joan’s Journey: Enter Organizers