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Accessible Gardening: kneeler stools for someone with balance problems

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bananna18
Colleyville, TX
(Zone 8a)

August 22, 2011
7:36 PM

Post #8772037

I know a lovely lady, who is a Master Gardener, and unfortunately had a stroke. She has some balance problems and reduced vision on the L. I wanted her to try the kneeler stool to see if it is high enough and stable enough for her. I realize she will probably need help to rearrange how the garden is organized...but I think it will bring her joy to be able to trim back the plants.I am worried that she might have problems transporting the stool from one plant to the next and it might not be stable enough in the garden as opposed to a concrete path.
http://www.burpee.com/Gardening%20Supplies/Garden%20Growers/Kneeler-Seat-prod001243.html?cid=PPC
Thanks! Any info or other recommendations are appreciated.
Anna

carrielamont

carrielamont
Milton, MA
(Zone 6a)

August 25, 2011
5:13 PM

Post #8776884

Anna, I have zero balance at all and I've never been able to use those stools. I use a raised table that I can sit under (in a chair with arms and a back).
bananna18
Colleyville, TX
(Zone 8a)

August 29, 2011
9:27 PM

Post #8784289

Can you tell me more? I don't understand the part about sitting under a raised table.

Amargia

Amargia
SE/Gulf Coast Plains, AL
(Zone 8b)

August 31, 2011
1:34 PM

Post #8787238

Hi, Anna. It is wonderful that you are looking for ways to keep this lady gardening. I would be a real grump if I couldn't continue to garden. It would be a boon to have someone with the skills of a master gardener bring their expertise into the world of accessible gardening.
A friend with back problems liked my kneeler so much I gave it to her. Kneelers seem to appeal most to those with knee, hip and back problems. I only used it when I worked the front walkway bed where there was a level sidewalk for it to sit on. I have a mitral valve prolapse. This causes heart arrhythmia the end result being dizziness, especially when you change positions, such as standing up after you’ve been sitting awhile. The problem is complicated further by some inner ear problems. I have been legally blind since I was a teenager. A very, VERY long time ago. :-) I can relate to your friend’s difficulty.
I like the simplicity and stability of a ground pad coupled with a walker nearby that has a built-in seat. The walker is light enough I can pull it into position for getting up and down, yet strong and stable enough to give me real support when I need it. My condition isn’t advanced enough the doctors prescribed a walker. I only use it when working in the garden. I have the traditional white cane to handle those “weeble moments” when I’m out and about. The walker belonged to one of the people who helped create Amargia that has now passed on. I can store my ground pad in the fold up seat when I move around.
If your friends gardening situation is like an urban lot where the kneeler has a level stable place to sit, they are a good idea.
I’m an economy-sized woman of Julia Child proportions. 6’ in height and 175 lbs. (That’s my story regarding my weight and I’m sticking to it. lol.) My gardening situation is 6 acres off the beaten path. My choices of garden aids will be different from those of a petite woman with a ¼ acre plot in the suburbs. I’m attempting to sell a local botanical garden on the idea of having the commonly available garden aids on hand for gardeners to test drive before they make a purchase. Even one accessible garden program a year would be helpful. An accessibility tool that is perfect for one gardener might not work that well for another. As a general rule, avid gardeners tend to be older people so it would make sense. k*

carrielamont

carrielamont
Milton, MA
(Zone 6a)

September 3, 2011
2:44 PM

Post #8791786

Anna, I sit under maybe a card table, something like that, and have someone pass me a pot, potting soil, water, perlite, seedlings, whatever. I usually get quite wet and dirty. I used to play a game with my kids where I was the "doctor" and my two daughters were "nurses". I guess it only worked for a few times, but they would pass me scalpels and IV fluids and we would amputate when necessary.

It's important that she be able to sit all the way under the table. Most wheelchairs (I hope).have the option of swinging back the armrests, so one can get all the way under a table (if it's high enough). Otherwise, if you're eating, you drop food in your lap because you're so far from the table. Same thing with gardening. You have to be right up under the table. If necessary -- and I do this a lot in restaurants -- pull the table closer to you/her.
bananna18
Colleyville, TX
(Zone 8a)

September 5, 2011
12:34 PM

Post #8794599

kudzu1, thank you for your valuable and detailed info. I had to look up Amargia, very interesting. I love the idea of a garden for people to try available garden aids. I think I will work on my garden clubs annual tour to have an area set up for that. If you have any links to this, I would love it!

carrielamont, thanks for elaborating. How cute to imagine the "surgery". I totally misread your initial post...I thought you were sitting under a table COMPLETELY...head and all!!!!!
Anna

carrielamont

carrielamont
Milton, MA
(Zone 6a)

September 5, 2011
4:07 PM

Post #8794952

Oh, no!
Sansai87
Midland City, AL

September 11, 2011
10:09 PM

Post #8804465

I think the Thrive website would be a good resource for your friend’s needs. They are based in the UK and some gardening terms used were unfamiliar to me. (I had to ask a British friend to explain “allotments” and a few other little things, but the problems physically challenged gardeners face are universal. The information is solid and practical. I think Carrie posted this link once, but it got buried up in our chatter. Does anyone else think we should have a sticky just for good resource sites? ~Nadine~

Carry On Gardening
http://www.carryongardening.org.uk/

carrielamont

carrielamont
Milton, MA
(Zone 6a)

September 13, 2011
10:37 AM

Post #8806779

Nadine, are you accusing us of "chatter?"
Sansai87
Midland City, AL

September 13, 2011
8:54 PM

Post #8807542

Okay….okay, if you want to get technical about it, Amargians are the major chatterboxes of the forum, but you have to know, Carrie, the rest of you are enablers. LOL. ~N~

carrielamont

carrielamont
Milton, MA
(Zone 6a)

September 15, 2011
5:20 PM

Post #8810144

hiding ... not admitting anything. :)
cando1
Ozone, AR
(Zone 6a)

September 16, 2011
3:20 AM

Post #8810610

Well this ole girl confesses. I am a chatterer. I go to chatterers anoymous once a year.LOL
I think It'd be great to have either a sticky or a separate thread for info and resources.
Vickie

carrielamont

carrielamont
Milton, MA
(Zone 6a)

September 17, 2011
8:10 AM

Post #8812121

Hmmmm. Are there any resources?

Amargia

Amargia
SE/Gulf Coast Plains, AL
(Zone 8b)

September 17, 2011
10:14 PM

Post #8812937

Quite a few if we include books. I just read Accessible Gardening for People with Physical Disabilities: A Guide to Methods, Tools and Plants by Janeen R. Adil. I'm not currrent on all that is available in a print format, but I know most of the ones that are available as audio books or downloads. I'll start working up a list.
Many physically challenged people like the newest Square Foot Gardening book. It appeals to those who like there plants standing in place like good little soldiers...and guys who like building stuff. My DH is right, I might change my mind about it a few years down the line, but, for now, it feels too tight laced for my comfort. My DH is retired military, like the creator of the Square Foot method. I don't think that is a coincidence. :-) k*

carrielamont

carrielamont
Milton, MA
(Zone 6a)

September 19, 2011
4:48 PM

Post #8815423

Ha ha comparing Jim to author of SFG!
Sansai87
Midland City, AL

September 20, 2011
8:56 PM

Post #8817150

:-) I don't think PJ is QUITE as rigid as the author of SFG. The author says if you don't used the grid pattern when planting it isn't a real square foot garden. I didn't noticed he used the grid in his new "deck farm." (He is growing veggies on the front deck instead of ornamentals.). I have noticed that gardens that highly structured appeal to new VI gardeners (Visually Impaired People), those with memory issues and the majority of kids.. The latter came as a surprise to me.
I still think there will be under 10 recommended resources when we winnow out repeat information. I'm not sure that is enough to bother creating a Sticky, on second thought. The Practical Matters thread could list them in the intro post when we start a new thread. Things can change quickly on the net. Web addresses change and sites go into cyber limbo. New books come out and old books stop being published. Periodically re-freshing the thread will remind me to check the viability of the links and status of books and print material. That might be easier.
Is there a container gardening book you found especially helpful, Vickie. or has it been a matter of trial and error? I like the CanDo Container Garden. It is easy to maintain. I'll post a pic in the next few days of the newest container MK created from junk. It's a fun one. ~Nadine~

carrielamont

carrielamont
Milton, MA
(Zone 6a)

September 21, 2011
7:22 AM

Post #8817535

Nadine, I didn't know there WERE ten real, actually useful resources! I'm supposed to be "the disabled writer," yet I've never thought of anything useful enough to write an article about! Feeling a little like an underachiever here...
seacanepain
Midland City, AL

September 21, 2011
9:42 PM

Post #8818775

“…those with memory issues,” the kid says. LOL. I like that. Sounds much nicer than “forgetful old men.”
Here are some books from Kay’s list. (She may not put her plants in neat rows, but she LOVES putting info in neat rows. Lady loves her list! :-)
She says to remind you that she has had quite a few more years to acquire all this info, Carrie, and Amargia has had people with widely varied challenges.
Some of these books are old enough they might not be easy to find, but they are out there.
-Garden Unseen by L. Stevens
-Accessible Gardening for People with Physical Disabilities by Janeen R. Adil
-The Enabling Garden: A Guide to Lifelong Gardening by Gene Rothert
-Gardening Through Your Golden Years by James W. Wilson
-Accessible Gardening: Tips & Techniques for Seniors by Joann Woy
-The Able Gardener: Overcoming Barriers of Age and Physical Limitations by Kathleen Yeoman
A sample of websites I like:
Modifying Garden Tools
http://agr ability.missouri.edu/gardenweb/modifytools.html
Gardening for VIPs
http://vipuc.fortunecity.com/bg_news.html
Gardening from a w/c
http://www.mda.org/publications/quest/q31garden.html
Yeah, I think it would be worth doing. I like the Sticky idea though. You can update those periodically without too much hassle, right? Nadine has a point. You do have to stay on top of links. Most of the resource links on Amargia’s old BlogSpot are defunct now. We didn’t bother with periodically checking them for viability since we planned to move to a new website that was easier for the VIPs to work on with their adaptive computer equipment.
Resource links might also include contact info for accessible public gardens. If it is just a matter of the amount of info being worth the trouble, I think we have enough for a Sticky. (Jim)

carrielamont

carrielamont
Milton, MA
(Zone 6a)

September 22, 2011
10:47 AM

Post #8819448

As "the wheelchair writer" I was always supposed to write an article about "how to garden from a wheelchair," and as soon as I figure out how, I will write the article! Good links, Jim! Instead, I turned into a "garden humorist."

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