Children are a godsend for parents. For many, it is as if life is giving you a second chance to bring up kids, it is those moments where you get to hold babies again, love them and put them to sleep or sing them lullabies. Children are god’s gift to grandparents too and one thing everybody knows is the fact that being a grandparent is a beautiful and heartwarming experience. It makes you happy because you get to be in the lives of your children and their children again and that’s an exciting thing.
Besides the universal knowledge that yes, being a grandparent is a good thing, studies have reaffirmed this that there are emotional health benefits of being grandparents. In fact, it works both ways where some studies have also confirmed that for children too, having grandparents is good for their health and development. One such study published by Evolution and Human Behavior says that even babysitting grandchildren can help you live longer.
The researchers suggested that caregiving gives older people purpose and keeps them active. Furthermore, it could be rooted in our evolutionary past, according to Sonja Hilbrand, one of the authors of the study and a doctoral student in the department of psychology at the University of Basel in Switzerland.
” THIS LINK COULD BE A MECHANISM DEEPLY ROOTED IN OUR EVOLUTIONARY PAST WHEN HELP WITH CHILDCARE WAS CRUCIAL FOR THE SURVIVAL OF THE HUMAN SPECIES,” HILBRAND SAID.
Furthermore, people who have no contact with the grandchildren can see their health actually negatively impacted, Hilbrand said.
Helping your adult children in some way also helps you to live longer, the study showed. Furthermore, even if someone the participants cared for wasn’t a relative, they still reaped the same benefits.
The researchers believe that it has to do with giving older people a sense of purpose and keeping them physically and mentally active. We all know that spending time with children keeps us on our toes, but until now, there was no science to back up an extended lifespan.
Bruno Arpino, associate professor at Barcelona’s Pompeu Fabra University, said this.
“CAREGIVING MAY GIVE CAREGIVERS A PURPOSE OF LIFE BECAUSE CAREGIVERS MAY FEEL USEFUL FOR THE OTHERS AND FOR THE SOCIETY. CAREGIVING MAY BE THOUGHT ALSO AS AN ACTIVITY THAT (KEEPS) CAREGIVERS PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY ACTIVE.”
He added that previous studies showed that caregiving seems to improve cognitive functioning, as well as physical and mental health.
Participants in the study completed medical tests and interviews every two years from 1990 to 2009. Only occasional caregivers were studied, not grandparents who were actually raising their grandchildren full time.
The main factor of the study finding how grandparents live longer is due to the release of feel good hormones. Studies found that those grandparents who took care of their grandchildren reduced the risk of demise in the next 10 years by 37% in comparison to those who didn’t and who invited the same risk in the next five years.