Your children love spending time with grandma and grandpa, which is great for everyone involved. Now, new scientific research has revealed that grandparents babysitting grandchildren could actually lower the risk of Alzheimer’s.
The Women’s Health Aging Project in Australia observed the cognitive function of more than 180 women, ages 57 to 68, who cared for their grandchildren. The test focused on the administration of three tests assessing cognitive abilities. According to the results, women who cared for their grandchildren at least once a week scored highest on the cognitive tests. However, women who spent more than five days a week caring for their grandchildren scored significantly lower on the tests than others.
Furthermore, grandparents who helped out too much also felt that their children, the grandchildren’s parents, were too demanding of their time.The reason for the correlation is not clear, but it is known that regular social interaction can lower the risk of Alzheimer’s and positively affect a senior’s mental health.
Other research has suggested that social interactions between grandparents and grandchildren also has anti-depressive benefits. Researchers at the Institute of Aging at Boston College reviewed data on 700 grandparents and grandchildren over 9 years. The closer the bond between them, the less likely either party was to develop depression.
There are many clear benefits to having grandparents babysitting grandchildren. Some activities that might promote the reduction of cognitive decline among seniors and increases in cognitive development among children include:
- Building a puzzle
- Playing cards
- Board games
- Going on walks
The types of activities grandparents babysitting grandchildren can participate in will vary on the abilities of the grandparents. Those who are unable to take leisurely walks or drive can still watch movies, read books and paint with the grandchildren.
If you have a parent who is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, they can still build, or continue, their strong relationship with their grandchild. Schedule supervised time together or help the grandparent and grandchildren bake together.
Advancare understands how important it is for those with Alzheimer’s to have social interactions. We offer a number of Alzheimer’s care services, including companionship or respite care for family members who take care of their loved ones.
Contact us at (305) 441-9794 to learn more about how our services can help you and your loved ones.Tags: babysitting, grandparents, mental health