Q: I am looking for ergonomic garden tools for my mother, who has arthritis. None of the local garden centers seem to have them. Can you help?
A: I think it won’t be long until all garden centers have tools that are easy to grip and use by older people. What baby boomers want, baby boomers get. As we continue to garden using old style tools, our hands and arms will appreciate tools that don’t require extreme angles of the wrist.
“Gardening should be good for the soul and not hurt the body.” is the motto of One to Grow On, Inc. (888-383-2240). They have several garden tools designed for comfortable use.
PETA tools, manufactured in Britain, have a sturdy post to grip and a wrist brace to steady their three tools: a cultivator, hoe and spade. You can order them through AgeNet (608-256-4242).
An afternoon of raking leaves gives most gardeners an aching back. You can purchase an Upper Hand rake handle attachment by calling (800-685-0315)
Q: Recently I discovered, much to my shock, that my 80 year old arthritic mother was using scissors to do her grass clipping. She lives 1000 miles away in Buffalo, New York. Her good neighbor cuts the lawn with his mower, but the trim work is hers. I’d like to buy her something intended for the job.
A: I recently bought a lawn rake with the thick, padded handle instead of one that is harder to grasp. Fortunately, several companies have developed tools for physically challenged gardeners, no matter what their age:
Walt Nicke Co. (800-822-4114)
In addition, these exercises from the American Physical Therapy Association will help your mother’s mobility before she begins her task:
1. Slowly move your head from side to side.
2. Slowly raise each knee as high as possible above the waist.
3. With feet apart and hands on hips, gently rotate the upper body.
4. Clench hand tightly and release.
5. Rotate wrists in circles.
For your situation specifically, Lee Valley Tools sells telescoping grass shears that might be just the thing for trimming grass without stooping.