We all take comfort in the wonderful times we had with our grandparents growing up. Constantly showering us with affection as well as wisdom, they were always there whenever we needed them. Our grandparents did everything from listening to all our stories, occasionally defending us from a scolding, to quietly slipping us pocket money when we ran short. The memories of those pleasant moments stay with us throughout our lives and they even shape some aspects of our personalities.
But it’s not just the grandchildren who are benefitting from this interaction. Time spent with their grandkids also hugely benefits grandparents and science has proved it.
Does your mom keep asking when you’re going to give her grandkids? Do your parents drop subtle hints all the time? You might find this annoying and keep denying that you want them, but this study might just make you change your mind. Titled “Caregiving within and beyond the family is associated with lower mortality for the caregiver: A prospective study”, those who get to take care of their grandkids stand a 37% less chance of dying as opposed to other people who are of a similar age but don’t have anyone to care for.
Scientists monitored the health of over 500 participants aged 70 years or more who had already been studied as a part of the BASE or the Berlin Aging Study. The subjects had taken part in biennial interviews and tests for nine years.
The findings proved that about half the subjects who were caregivers to their grandchildren were living even a decade after they had joined the study. On the other hand, around half the subjects without any caregiving responsibilities had only lived for five years after the first interview and test.
Dr. David Coall, who works in ECU’s School of Medical and Health Sciences, has stated that the study proves the effects that caregiving has on longevity, especially when it comes to the elderly. But the reasons for this have not been explored in the study. This could have something to do with our genetic makeup as in ancient times, caregivers for children were essential for the entirety of the human race to survive.
And it is no secret that the children also learn a lot from being around their grandparents. A study conducted by Oxford proved that a grandparent can truly benefit a child’s health and happiness. The child was also less likely to have issues with their behavior or emotions.
Of course, all of this comes with a caveat. The grandparent must actually want to spend that much time with their grandchild because at that age being forced to do something might put too much strain on them.
This study takes us all back to the good times we had with our own grandparents. Hopefully, it will make us more appreciative of what they did for us and change our minds about what we can do for them.
“What children need more at the essentials that grandparents provide in abundance. They give unconditional love, kindness, patience, humor, comfort, lessons in life. And, most importantly, cookies.” – Rudy Giuliani