Over the last few weeks the weather has become warmer, trees and plants have come into leaf and flowers are blooming. When we have time, we love to get out in the garden.

Gardening is a wonderfully diverse, adaptable leisure activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and disabilities. You don't need a large piece of land to enjoy gardening, a patio, balcony or window boxes can give just as much pleasure.

Whether you are somebody with a lifelong interest in gardening, who is getting older and finds doing the gardening more difficult, recovering from an accident or illness, have a disability or are looking to develop new interests and skills, gardening provides good physical exercise. This can help to maintain or improve joint mobility, muscle strength, balance and mobility and slow down the deterioration seen in degenerative illnesses. Gentle warm up exercises, frequent rests and knowing when you've done enough can help prevent strains and fatigue. Gardening gets you out in the fresh air and in touch with nature. It can enable you to relax, express your creativity and give you and others pleasure from the results of your efforts.

Gardening is a great therapeutic activity that we can use with clients with a wide range of physical and cognitive difficulties, individually and in groups. “ Enjoy your garden” was the title of one of the recent articles we wrote for Choice, a monthly national glossy magazine for the over 50s.

We have written a number of articles on a range of subjects; travelling abroad, cooking with arthritis and stroke, as well as maintaining independence in personal care and grooming. In the articles we provide practical tips and ideas to help people maintain their independence, whilst also providing advice and ideas for friends and relatives. We furthermore give information and contact details about useful organisations and sources for further help and advice.

We found the following websites full of useful information when writing the gardening article:

  • Carry on gardening: www.carryongardening.org.uk
  • The gardening disabled trust: www.gardeningfordisabledtrust.org.uk
  • Disabled Living Foundation: www.dlf.org.uk
  • Arthritis research Campaign: www.arc.org.uk

Why not visit our website blog (www.irs.gb.com) and read some of the articles yourself. We hope you find them interesting and useful for some of the clients you are working with.

At Independent Rehabilitation Services we are also expanding the services we can offer and the geographical areas we cover. Another Occupational Therapist ( Angela Gordon) joined us recently and is providing Occupational Therapy interventions in Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Lincolnshire.

We are now also working closely in collaboration with a Clinical Psychologist (Ian Fussey) and are able to offer combined interventions to you and your clients.

Declan McNichol

Bill Young

Angela Gordon

Birgit Rathje-Vale

Helen Smart