Grandparents Who Babysit Their Grandkids Live Longer

Don't block them out!


Hayley Mitchelhill-Miller

13 September 2019

Hayley Mitchelhill-Miller

Article heading image for Grandparents Who Babysit Their Grandkids Live Longer

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For a lot of us, our parents are life saviours when it comes to needing someone to look after our kids - but it turns out that the activity benefits both parties a lot more than you’d think!

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According to a new study, grandparents who babysit their grandkids are more likely to live longer lives than those who don’t get the chance to take care of their children’s little ones.

Cleveland Clinic’s Ronan Factora, M.D., conducted a study of elderly people who participated in the Berlin Aging Study.  

Factora explained that the health and wellness of grandparents is overall much better when they play an active role in looking after their grandchildren from time to time. 

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The study looked at 500 individuals from the Berlin Aging Study who were over the age of 70. As half of those over 90 show serious cognitive decline, but many closer to 70 don’t have serious impairments to their mental functions, Dr. Factora revealed that babysitting helps to extend elderly people’s health. 

Not only does babysitting allow grandparents and grandkids to spend quality time together to develop strong bonds, it also helps to improve their health and prolong their lives and active years.

He explained, “You want to make sure that you find that right balance between getting the positive benefits of doing enough of an activity to help those in need and avoiding doing too much and getting to the point where the activity makes one overly stressed.”

He offered babysitting as a balanced activity to both help and lower stress - when done in moderation! 

Not only this, but babysitting is also important for retired grandparents as, “as you age, you want to stay physically active; you want to stay socially engaged; you want to be cognitively stimulated; and all those things allow you to age well.”

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The study found that the risk of death in grandparent babysitters is lowered for around 20 years, due to the social and cognitive benefits!

“There is a link between providing this care and reducing stress and we know the relationship between stress and a higher risk of dying.

“If providing care to grandchildren and others in need is one way that can actually reduce stress, then these activities should be of benefit to folks who are grandparents and provide this care to their grandkids.”

The catch? This is not true for grandparents who are the primary caregivers of their grandchildren - it’s only beneficial for part-time babysitting grandparents. 

Grandparents are an important part of everyone’s lives!

 

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