Looking after grandchildren can be good for your health but not if you overdo it!
Looking After Grandchildren
That’s the recent advice based on the research carried out by a Women’s Healthy Ageing Project. The research took mental and physical health into account and found that older women who are socially engaged (for example, meeting friends, working in a voluntary role after retirement, keeping active in clubs and looking after grandchildren occasionally) have better cognitive function and a lower risk of developing dementia as they age.
Our society is changing and many more young parents are returning to work after having children. The cost of childcare means that many turn to the grandparents for help with childcare. Another reason, of course, is that they trust their parents completely with their children. The childcare can vary from after-school care, from all day care or to helping out when the children are ill or during the school holidays. Most grandparents providing childcare are either retired or are no longer working.
Many grandparents looks after their grandchildren once or twice a week. According to the research, this is perfect. The children get to spend time with grandparents, the parents know their children are in good hands, the relationships are being strengthened, the grandparents feel appreciated and their mental ability is enhanced. Looking after children five days a week is considered to be too much. If grandparents find it too tiring or feel they have been taken advantage of if it is too much, it affects their mood. In turn, this can affect their mental processing speed and their memory.
While the study provides interesting results, it doesn’t necessarily prove that looking after grandchildren for five days per week can cause dementia or Alzheimer’s. However, doing too much isn’t necessarily positive. Providing childcare one or two days a week means everyone enjoys it and you now know it has the positive effects of improving your memory and mental health.
Do you look after your grandchildren? Do you think everyone benefits or is it too much for you?