Grandparents Live Longer If They Spend More Time With Their Grandkids

I always loved going to grandma’s. She was such a fabulous cook and I was always a hungry kid with hollow legs. I thought her sole purpose on this planet was to feed me, and it’s not like it was a chore for her. She wholeheartedly loved loading up the spoon with her homemade food and then choo-chooing it into my mouth.

Sundays with grandma were great. We’d go over, spend a few hours, then be back home for an early night. It was a win-win situation for everyone. I got to hang out with Nana, my mom got a break, and Nana got to bond with me. Now, it turns out, that it’s a winning situation for a reason!

According to a study that examined data from the Berlin Aging Study published in the journal, Evolution and Human Behaviour, senior citizens who provided care to a child had a lower risk of dying over a 20-year period. The study focused on 500 people aged 70 and up, and did not focus on grandparents who are the primary caregivers of their grandkids.

One doctor at the world-famous Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Ronan Factora, stated that “[t]here is a link between providing this care and reducing stress. If providing this care to [grand kids] and others…is one way that we can actually reduce stress, then these activities should be of benefit to folks who are grandparents and provide this care.”

It appears that caretaking helps stimulate the body and mind, which makes sense. Considering the amount of energy required to watch and engage with children, the time spent together fosters more physical activity. This activity includes lifting, walking to the park, and maybe dancing around and singing, as well as encouraging time spent reading and making cookies together; all of this requires grandma and grandpa to teach their grandkids new skills.

Or maybe it’s just as simple as Nana lovingly feeding her grandchild, just like mine did for me! Any time spent together is precious, but not to the point where it becomes parenting. This is grandma and grandpa’s time to relax and unwind in this stage of their life, not add more stress and use up more energy. Small chunks of time to spoil the grandkids is perfect!

Click on the video below to get more information about this study.

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