With the elder population growing, living longer and living on their own now days, retaining their independence is important should they choose that route.
According to recent studies, the average life expectancy has doubled in the last century reaching a global average of 84 years per person. And thanks to medical advancements, this number is expected to grow in the next years!
There’s no doubt the elder are staying fitter and stronger than previous generations and want to continue being self-sustained and sufficient without the assistance of others.
However, when it comes to the home and yard work, things can get a little overwhelming and physical. It is estimated that 300,000 people will suffer an accident related to gardening this year, with children and the elderly being the most affected.
One of the must have tools is a weed trimmer. It’s light, easy to use and can greatly assist with a good chunk of the garden. However, not all weed trimmers are suited for seniors and there are a few things to look out for to tell it’s right for the senior in your life.
An electric weed trimmer is the best option for seniors. These type of trimmers tend to be lighter, easier to handle and require less maintenance. Fuel powered trimmers represent a bigger hazard to the elderly.
“The key to finding the right weed trimmer for seniors lies in the trifecta of lightweight design, adjustable handle, and low vibration. After 50 years in horticulture, working with diverse tools, I can’t stress enough the importance of comfort and ease-of-use, particularly for the elder gardeners amongst us. It’s all about being able to continue enjoying gardening without unnecessary strain or discomfort!”
Electric trimmers are a lot lighter than their gas powered counterparts and are easy to start with a push of the button. This also gives senior users more control over the machine without putting too much strain on the arms.
Gas models are often more temperamental and difficult to start up. This requires sudden tugs of the string and can be painful to joints, especially for suffers of arthritis.
Lastly, electric trimmers require a lot less maintenance. Gas motors have more working parts that may need maintaining or replacing. With this, there’s other factors to consider, such as emptying and preserving the fuel during winter months.
Electric trimmer tend to be less expensive too. You can buy one for as low a $40 dollars, and you don’t have to worry about buying fuel in the future.
Smaller & Lighter Trimmers
There are two reasons to keep the weight low for seniors. One is the obvious, the lighter it is, the longer they can carry it without too much stress or strain on the body (avoiding mobility issues). The second reason, lighter trimmers generally have less power, which the senior has a better handle of the machine over the more powerful versions. An electric trimmer weights around 10 lbs.
If the less powerful machine is not capable of handling the senior’s yard as it’s too big, then asking for someone else to do the work might be a better option to prevent any potential health issues. A professional service usually starts at $20 depending on the area.
Strap For Additional Support
Although an effort has been made to find the lightest trimmer, there’s still the risk of your arm muscles absorbing the weight, tensing up and causing discomfort.
But there is a way to redistribute that weight to the core of your body making the trimmer feel up to 70% lighter. The simple solution is to use a shoulder strap system with a large surface area to allow your shoulders (not your arms) to take the strain.
Having a well balance trimmer will give your more control over the machine with less bending of the back area. By keeping the trimmer steady, there is also less chance of lawn scalping!
* Some brands have a double strap system that further distributes the weight evenly.
Auto Feed System Is A Must
Most modern trimmers automatically feed the line out using centrifugal force when it breaks. The user doesn’t have to stop what he/she is doing while the machine fixes itself.
It’s important to know that not all machines work in this manner. For example, some machines require tapping the bottom of the trimmer with some force to release the line.
So be sure to check before making your purchase as this will save you time and limit the need of exerting force that seniors may struggle with… keep is plain and simple. We recommend a V20 – V40 model, this will provide a better performance.
* There is a caveat, although many automatic line feeder work well, some models can be temperamental and fiddly. Be sure to check the reviews for potential line feeder problems.
Safety is paramount, especially for seniors operation machinery. It’s vital to get a trimmer that has a large enough guard to prevent placing a hand on the moving head, ideally one that covers 30% to 50% of the radius.
Getting an electric weed trimmer is like getting and electric car, you give up some of the power in exchange for convenience and comfort.
Other safety gear such as protective gloves and eye goggles is important. Stones can easily fly upwards (even with a guard in place) towards the face area. You will want to protect your eyes at all times even if it means wearing your shades!
A retired construction contractor with 14 years of experience specializing in residential interiors. Known for his comprehensive knowledge on home maintenance, flooring materials, cleaning methods and familiarity with home appliances. Revered as an expert in his field, he focuses on writing about DIY home improvements where he imparts invaluable advice based on his extensive experience. Can be reached at (514) 416-9476 and [email protected]