A WELSH care agency has launched a campaign to get people gardening during the current coronavirus restrictions to help improve mental and physical wellbeing for those at home.

Abacare says gardening is hugely beneficial, especially for the elderly or people with dementia, and it can help the mind and body stay healthy.

Joe Jenkins, Registered Manager at Abacare, which has offices in Ystradgynlais and is helping ease pressure on the NHS by providing frontline care to service users in their own homes, said: “It’s extremely important that everyone stays at home at the moment and we’re huge supporters of this, so have tried to come up with some suggestions of interesting things for people to do. Now is the perfect time for people to take up a new hobby and we think gardening is a great place to start.

“We regularly encourage our older service users to get into the garden if they can. Gardening is a brilliant way for everyone to get some fresh air and connect with the natural world. It’s also a great way for us all to get some exercise.

“Planting, pruning, digging, sweeping and weeding can improve dexterity skills. Gardening has huge benefits cognitively too, allowing the gardener to go through the planning stages, deciding what seeds to sow, what vegetables to grow or how they want the overall garden to look if you’re giving it a complete makeover.

“Maintaining a garden gives a person a task to focus on every day/week as ongoing jobs such as watering and pruning need doing. Gardening is also fantastic for stimulation of the senses, there are lots of wonderful smells emitting from flowers, herbs, grass and even soil and the colours and light can really spark the imagination. There’s also the sensation of touch, of soil or plants in your hands as you plant them, and fantastic sounds too such as birdsong, rustling of leaves in the wind and the odd sounds of wildlife.”

Abacare will be publishing a series of seasonal, easy to follow, gardening tips and advice blogs on its website at abacare.org.uk and via its social media pages using the hashtag #keepcalmandgetreadytogarden.