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How help at home gives you time to grow

Written by Julianna Stewart, Communications Partner with integratedliving

Accessing in-home support means you can do more of what you love. For Heather, that’s gardening.  


At the age of 86, client Heather is quite independent. She drives and does her own grocery shopping in Tasmania, but she values that extra hand to help her with some of the larger house tasks like cleaning the floors.  

“It’s such a good help,” Heather said. “Plus, it gives me more time to garden!” 

Growing beautiful flowers, including roses, tulips and even a pink hibiscus, are the ingredients for Heather’s great attitude on life and what, she believes, keeps her young at heart.  

“I think having a garden extends your life,” she said. 

“It gives you something to do and it’s rewarding too.” 

Heather is proud of her garden which she has lovingly planted over 20 years since she moved into the Northbourne Retirement Village.  

“I have a lovely garden. I’m in it daily, weather permitting.” 

“You could say that I am a plantaholic. A visit to a gardening centre always culminates with me bringing home new plants that are irresistible. Sometimes people stop to look at it when they are walking past so I give them the guided tour.” 

Heather is certain that having a garden helps keep her mind active. 

“It’s a place of contemplation – should I move a plant if it’s not growing as it should? Where shall I place a new plant so that it’s colour coordinated and pleasing to the eye?” 

“I think keeping your brain busy helps to reduce the risk of getting Alzheimer’s and dementia. But most of all, my garden keeps me fit and feeling younger than my 86 years.” 

Heather is also handy at knitting, having made over 100 beanies just this winter for charity to help disadvantaged children overseas. She also knitted poppies for Remembrance Day last year and raised $400 for her local hospital.  

Living on her own, Heather values her in-home help from Support Worker Vicki who assists with cleaning duties and also visits each week for a cuppa and a chat. 

Vicki is so lovely. I enjoy her visits. She’s really interested in what I’m growing and likes looking at my garden, so sometimes I give her cuttings to take home and I give her tips on how to grow them,” Heather said. 

Heather’s tips on gardening in a small area: 

  • If you don’t have an outdoor garden, try using pots. You can mix your vegetables and flowers together. I currently have tulips and carrots growing and they are doing really well. 
  • Your support worker can help with picking up some gardening supplies for you and even assist with potting plants. It’s a fun activity to do with someone. 
  • If you don’t have much outdoor space on a balcony or patio, try planting some herbs on your kitchen windowsill or flower boxes outside your window. It creates a lovely view looking outside your window to flowers blooming.  
  • Give it a go. Gardening is trial and error but once you see a few things growing well, you’ll be hooked. It’s so rewarding.  
Find out more about help at home services