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Green lifestyle changes for seniors

Quilting is a green hobby many seniors already enjoy.
Quilting is a green hobby many seniors already enjoy.
Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

As a senior citizen, you may be wondering how to make green lifestyle choices you can live with. Old habits die hard as they say. You've been traveling the path of life for a while. You have a good idea what works best for you. Still, changing to a green lifestyle may be easier than you think. It's not too late. In fact, you may already be practicing some environmentally friendly behaviors. They just didn't call it that when you were young. What does it mean to go green anyway? How does it fit in to the everyday life of a senior citizen?

No room at the inn

People are calling you elderly now. You're moving out of the big house you bought when the kids were small. Whether you're moving into a smaller home or assisted living, take this opportunity to make some green lifestyle changes. Now's the time to sort through old things and pass them on to your children and grandchildren. Anything left can be donated to a shelter or thrift store to be reused by those in need. Learning to recycle or reuse, rather than throwing away, is an easy green living choice for seniors.

No garden or no space for one?

Seniors often live in small spaces. Composting and growing vegetables may seem impossible. How about donating your kitchen waste to a friend or relative who can use it in their garden? If you have room, container gardening is a wonderful green living idea. You can still use your coffee grounds and eggshells for houseplants. Better yet, why not join a community garden? You can remain active while going green. Plus you'll have all that healthy produce to eat.

Not enough recyclables to collect?

It's just you now, or if you are married, just the two of you. You don't go through enough soda pop to save the cans. A months worth wouldn't get you five pennies. What about those margarine tubs and glass jars? How can you possibly use them all? Don't throw them away. Some of those are recyclable too. How about getting together with other seniors and saving recyclables as a group? You can also save them for a neighborhood child or organization. This green lifestyle choice doubles as a charitable contribution.

Alternatives to chemicals

When it comes to ordinary household tasks, some seniors may be set in their ways. In order to adapt to green living, seniors may have to give up some of the chemical products they know and trust. For instance, you may be accustomed to using bleach to whiten your laundry. Surprisingly, substitutes such as hydrogen peroxide are equal to the task without harming the environment. If you send your laundry out, there are plenty of environmentally friendly cleaners and laundries. Take a good look at other household chemical products. Make simple, gradual substitutions to save the earth.

The link between frugal and green

Seniors who've lived through hard times know the benefits of frugality. Some green lifestyle choices are simply frugal. For seniors, this may not mean a change at all. That's right, all those ways you conserve resources can be part of this whole fancy green movement all the kids are talking about. So don't buy another thing if you can make do with what you have. Reuse everything you can. Use cloth, not paper napkins and forgo the disposables. All these old fashioned frugal ideas are actually ways to go green.


Quilting is a wonderful old fashioned hobby that can be incorporated into a senior's green lifestyle changes. Quilts become beautiful heirlooms. Those made in the traditional way are environmentally friendly. So do it the way your grandmother did. Instead of making quilts from new fabric, use pieces cut from old, worn out clothing or hand me downs. With a piece of Dad's work shirt here and a piece of Mom's wedding dress there, your green living quilts will hold more sentimental value than most. Don't stop at quilts. Old clothes can be fashioned into many useful items or even made into new clothes for those bohemian loving grand-kids.


So they nabbed your driving license. That's alright. Look at it as an opportunity to explore green transportation. Take the bus, walk or ride a bike to reduce harmful emissions. As a bonus, you'll get in a bit of exercise. It adds years to your life. That translates into more time with loved ones. You might even like the freedom of letting someone else do the driving. Some senior living facilities even have buses to take you shopping as a group. Still got your license? Use it wisely and carpool with others.

Portions of this article were previously published by this author on a now closed Yahoo property.

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