The next time you’re taking a needed break from your little ones, call Mom or Dad and get them in on the babysitting action – it’s probably good for them. Ronan Factora, M.D., of the Cleveland Clinic, recently conducted a study of elderly people who participated in the Berlin Aging Study.
Factora says that it’s overall better for the health and wellness for grandparents to take an active role in babysitting their grandkids. He also found out that parents have increasingly been slipping this study into their parent’s email inboxes when planning trips out of town. Hmmmm.
Study Focussed On Those 70 And Over
Dr. Factora’s study surveyed 500 people who were 70 and older who took part in the Berlin Aging Study. The Berlin Aging Study says about half of people aged 90 and older exhibit serious mental decline, that memory gets worse with age, and that many over 70 do not have serious impairments in intellectual functioning.
Dr. Factora proves that babysitting could be a great way to extend healthy and active years. Babysitting let grandparents and grandchildren can spend time together and grandparents can take advantage of and prolong their good health. It’s a win win.
Babysitting Is The Right Balance
Dr. Factora says that, ‘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.’
Babysitting offers the perfect balance between activity, help, and low stress. Instead of booking their next skydiving lesson or session time at the batting cages to get some movement in, grandparents should be calling their kids and asking if they need a hand.
It’s Good For Social Health Too
Dr. Factora maintains that, ‘as you age, you want to stay physically active; you want to stay socially engaged; you want to be cognitively stimulated; and all those things allow you to age well.’ Do social butterflies have fewer wrinkles on their wings?
Babysitting gives retired grandparents an opportunity to leave the house and see friendly faces. They can catch up on their family’s lives and feel more engaged with the world – something that can be hard to do when you’re not working every day.
Babysitters Have A Lower Risk Of Death
In addition to all the social and cognitive benefits of babysitting, Dr. Factora and his team found that the risk of death in grandparent babysitters is lowered for about 20 years. That’s 20 years of potentially better health and wellness and a lower risk of missing important life events.
Interestingly enough, this wasn’t the case for grandparents who were the primary caregivers of their grandchildren. Turns out the health benefits Dr. Factora finds only work for the part-time babysitters.
Stress Less, Live Longer
We all know we’re supposed to breathe and relax and do all that good namaste stuff to live longer, but Dr. Factora really drives that point home. He says, ‘there is a link between providing this care and reducing stress and we know the relationship between stress and a higher risk of dying.’
‘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,’ he continues. You heard it, folks. Give your parents a call!