Grandparents hold a special place in the hearts of their grandkids, there is no doubt about this. And while it’s a wonderful gift for a grandparent to be present in their grandchild’s life, a recent study found that there are likely major benefits for the grandparents too.
The study, which was published in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior, took data from the Berlin Aging Study that observed 500 seniors aged 70 and older. This study did not include grandparents who had taken on the role of parent to their grandchildren.
For those grandparents who worked as secondary caregivers and babysitters for their grandkids, they had a lower risk of death over a 20-year period, than those who did not. In fact, the mortality hazards for grandparents who helped by providing secondary care to their grandkids were 37% lower than the others.
“There is a link between providing this care and reducing stress, and we know the relationship between stress and higher risk of dying,” said Dr. Ronan Factora, a geriatric medicine specialist from the Cleveland Clinic. “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.”
However, balance is key. Overdoing it could most certainly lead to negative results as far as healthcare is concerned. “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,” Dr. Factora said.
Additionally, studies have found that grandparents who played a critical role in assisting their grandkids also had healthier brains. So, if you are a hands-on grandparent, this is great news. Just remember to be balanced in your efforts.