Grandkids help keep grandparents healthy
After reading this column, my mother, grandmother and mother-in-law will be thanking me.
In fact, after reading this, all grandparents and great-grandparents out there should thank their children for asking them to help with the childcare of their grandkids.
Why, you ask?
Data from 500 seniors in the Berlin Aging Study showed that those grandparents who babysat lived longer — and it didn’t matter whether it was their own grandkids or someone else’s.
Taking care of kids keeps them physically active and helps relieve stress. However, overdoing it can cross a line and cancel out those health benefits, the study states.
I can’t imagine how older adult watching a baby or toddler could over-exert themselves (note the sarcasm!).
Seriously, though, as long as the seniors in the study didn’t get too stressed, their overall wellbeing improved.
The study also found spending time with grandma and grandpa is great for kids. It gives them extra stability and emotional support.
While I haven’t done a scientific study, I’ve seen this at work first-hand.
I’ll use my grandmother as an example.
My brother and I grew up in the same house with my grandparents. It was split-level. My parents, brother and I were upstairs, and my grandmother and grandfather were downstairs.
In January 2013, my grandfather died, and it was devastating for her. I became increasingly worried because her health seemed to be in quick decline. That is, until Oct. 31, 2013, when my wife and I found out we were expecting a child.
At 86, it was as if new life had been breathed into my grandmother.
When Isabella came along, my grandmother seemed to be stronger, sharper and happier than I had seen her in a long time. She will be 90 in November, and despite some problems that come with aging, she’s doing pretty darn well. You should see the way she beams when she sees Isabella.
The same can be said for my mom and mother-in-law. Both have youthful spirits and don’t look their ages. And both light up when Isabella is around. I know she’s helped keep them young, too.
So, back to that German study.
Upon further review, the conclusions of the study don’t seem completely fair.
Kids are helping their grandparents defy aging, but I feel like being a parent is aging me twice as fast.
Walters is a content coach for FLORIDA TODAY.
Contact Walters at 321-242-3681