Post-menopausal women who spend time with their grandchildren at least once a week were found to have better cognitive abilities.
Most Grandparents look forward to spending time with their grandkids. No matter how tired or weak they feel, having their grandkids home is a joy that is inexpressible. Baking cookies, reading bedtime stories and even making silly conversations with them brings a smile on most grandparent's faces. However, apart from happiness, there are more reasons to spend time with grandkids.
Caring and looking after your grandchildren can have a positive impact on your health. According to a study that was published in Menopause, the journal of the North American Menopause Society, post-menopausal women who spend time looking after their grandkids are at a lower risk of developing Alzheimer's or any other cognitive disorders. It also said that it prevented isolation and early death in grandparents.
Researchers from the Women’s Health Aging Project in Australia who conducted the study carried out three different tests to asses the cognitive abilities of 186 women among which 120 were grandmothers. The research that had participants aged from 57 to 68 found that those who helped with childcare at least once in a week scored the highest. However, they also found that women who spend five or more days a week scored much lower. This is mainly because grandmothers felt their children, the parents of their grandkids were overly demanding. This feeling resulted in bad moods and also impacted the functioning of their brains. These women were more frustrated with their role of caregiving grandparent.
Meanwhile, other studies have pointed out that daily caregiving grandparents who scored less were also people who were much older and lacked good social interaction. They stated that these factors greatly influenced them and resulted in lower cognitive scores. However, babysitting grandkids in general, or having a stronger bond with them are often associated with positive impacts on both the aging grandparents and the children.
Having a bond with grandkids is known to reduce depression and improve mental health. According to a study conducted by the researchers from the Institute on Aging at Boston College, depression is likely to occur in grandparents who have a bond with their grandkids. The institute collected data from 700 grandparents and grandchildren over 19 years. It was found that closer bonds between the two generations in a family reduced the possibility of depression. "The greater emotional support grandparents and adult grandchildren received from one another, the better their psychological health," said lead researcher Sara Moorman to Huffington Post. Therefore, the relationship between grandparents and grandchildren is a symbiotic one with both groups reaping benefits.