Tips on Encouraging a Senior Loved One to be More Sustainable

senior garden center Adopting a sustainable lifestyle is easier to accomplish for young people. The older generation finds it a little more challenging, but that doesn’t mean they should give up. It’s never too late to start adopting more sustainable practices or habits. The smallest of lifestyle changes can go a long way.

Elderly people have many things to consider, such as ALTCS eligibility, writing a will, modifying their home, managing their health, and eating a balanced diet. You can help them appreciate the impact they’re making on future generations. In addition, you can show them how they can promote sustainability in their own lives and amongst their friends.

Here are some ways older adults can help protect the environment and encourage their friends to do the same.

Reduce Their Use of Plastic and Styrofoam

In today’s modern world we’re all in such a hurry. This has made many of us look for ways to make things easier. Convenience foods and products packed in plastic are often the answer, unfortunately. 

We create a massive amount of waste every day, from plastic water bottles to fast food packaging. If you want to teach your senior loved one how they can reduce plastic pollution, there are lots of online resources available from organizations such as Earth Day Network and Plastic Oceans. 

Grow Their Own

As well as being good for the planet, growing your produce and gardening, in general, provides a wealth of physical and mental health benefits. Vegetable gardening also reduces waste and your carbon footprint. 

You don’t need as much space as you might think. If your loved one only has a small garden or just a patio or balcony, container gardening could be the answer. If they find they’re growing more than they can eat, freeze part of the harvest to use during the winter. 

If gardening isn’t their thing, encourage them to shop at a local farmers’ market as a way of helping protect the environment. On average, many of the products they buy in a grocery store have traveled 1,500 miles before they appear on the shelf. That uses a lot of fossil fuels and other resources. 

If your senior loved one is part of any community or lives in a retirement home, see if there is the possibility of building a small garden or raised bed. 

If a small group of older adults has the opportunity to work together, it will build connections between them and improve their quality of life. They’ll be able to grow flowers to pick during the spring and summer, and vegetables and herbs to eat. 

Skip the Chemicals

Many senior loved ones will have grown up using chemical-laden cleaning products and harsh detergents. At the time, little was known about the damage they did to the environment. 

Thankfully, there are plenty of more eco-friendly cleaning products we can use. There is the option of buying them or making them at home ourselves. 

The simplest can be made using white vinegar, baking soda, and essential oils. 

Keep Vehicles Well Maintained

There are a few ways to protect the earth and your car:

  • Get your oil changed according to the manufacturers’ recommendations
  • Don’t top off your gas tank
  • Drive at reasonable speeds

Opt-Out of Mailing Lists

How much unsolicited mail does your loved one receive through the letterbox every day? Most will likely end up in a landfill, without ever being opened. 

To stop this annoying flood of mail you must contact the companies directly or by email and ask for your name to be removed from the mailing list. 

Alternatively, you can encourage your loved ones and their friends to sign up for the National Do Not Mail List. This removed their name from the many mailing lists that exist for direct marketing companies to use.  

Learn More About Recycling

How much does your loved one know about recycling? A common misconception among the elderly is that they can only recycle bottles and cans. In actual fact, there are many things you can recycle. Local non profit recycling organizations will be able to offer advice, along with local government offices. 


This is a great way for older adults to be more invested in sustainability and the environment. It’s also a great way for them to do something new, meet new people, and use their skills in different ways. 

Unfortunately, older people are often put off volunteering because they feel they don’t know enough to be able to make a valuable contribution. In addition, they might struggle to find volunteer opportunities. 

Use the power of Google to help them find nearby volunteer opportunities that are older-adult friendly. 

Final Thoughts

When it comes to living a sustainable life, we all have a part to play regardless of our age. Every little effort makes a difference. 


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