Jun 27, 2023

Volunteer gardeners rake in tripping hazards for older clients

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A group of Easy Care Gardening with the team from ABC’s Gardening Australia television program. [Source: Easy Care Gardening]

A group of volunteer gardeners have helped prevent older people from falling by fixing up their backyard for them to easily enjoy and navigate safely without being at risk of a fall.

Armed with rakes, shears, and hedge trimmers, Easy Care Gardening volunteers cut back vines and overgrown branches from hedges and bushes for older clients in the New South Wales’ Ryde, Ku-ring-gai, Hunters Hill and Hornsby areas – many of whom have recently returned home from hospital and cannot tend to their gardens.

The prevalence of an older person falling and the increased risks associated with one is becoming more apparent. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) data suggests that more than half of all falls that result in hospital admissions among people 65 years and older happened in outdoor areas in the home.

“We’ve got an ever-increasing ageing community that wants more help,” Coordinator, Oliver Koch, told ABC Radio Sydney.

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Oliver Koch, Easy Care Gardening Coordinator. [Source: ABC Radio Sydney/ Declan Bowring]

Oliver said the COVID-19 pandemic had an impact on the charity’s volunteer numbers which have slid from over 400 to now just over 200.

One of those 200-odd volunteers is retired electrical technician, Rob Lewis, who values the socialisation and exercise he experiences being a volunteer gardener.

“This is my useful thing I do now.”

NSW is keen to tackle the prevalence and risks of falls. Earlier this month, the Strength Training, Rehabilitation and Outreach Needs in Geriatric Medicine program was launched at Sydney’s Concord Hospital to help older people with frailty improve their physical strength and mental well-being and avoid presenting in Emergency Departments (EDs).

To find out how you can become an Easy Care Gardening volunteer by visiting their website or call (02) 9983 1644. 

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