One of the obvious joys of growing older is gaining grandchildren. Bonding with the newest generation of the family brings a sense of pride and pleasure that is nearly impossible to describe, let alone quantify.
Grandkids have been known to bring a sense of new life, energy and hope to their Grandparent’s lives. But that’s not all. According to a new study, Grandmother’s in particular may also gain big brain benefits from the relationship.
The research, which was published in Menopause, the journal of the North American Menopause Society, finds that post-menopausal women that spend a moderate amount of time taking care of their grandkids are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive disorders.
The study involved testing the cognitive skills of 186 post-menopausal women through the Women’s Health Aging Project in Australia. Out of the group (ranging in age from 57 to 68) 120 of the women acted as regular caretakers to their grandchildren.
Interestingly, the study found that those grandmothers that spent at least one day a week with their grandkids scored the highest, while grandmother’s who took on the responsibility of childcare for five or more days had lower cognitive scores. The researchers also noted that the subjects that acted as caregivers for longer periods of time reported feeling more overexerted, (citing that their children, the parents of the grandchildren were too demanding of them) which may have affected their mood and overall scoring.
And so it would seem that the old saying, all good things in moderation, holds true even in the case of grandchildren. Have fun-filled days with them when you can, without overdoing it.
Role of grandparenting in postmenopausal women’s cognitive health: results from the Women’s Healthy Aging Project via The Journal of North American Menopause Society.
Babysitting Grandkids Could Lower Risk of Alzheimer’s via Alzheimer’s.net