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Scientists reveal how to help grandparents live longer



Cerith Gardiner - published on 09/11/19 - updated on 07/20/23

The answer is surprising and beneficial for all the family!

There’s nothing better for kids than having their grandparents around, who can pass on words of wisdom, fascinating stories, and teach children caring and compassion as they age. It’s a relationship to nurture and cherish. The great news is that this vital relationship works both ways.

In a study carried out by the University of Western Australia the University of Basel, and the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, researchers found that grandparents who babysit have an incredible “37 percent lower mortality rate” than their peers who do not have any caring responsibilities, as reported in more detail by the NHS.

While science can’t pinpoint why there’s such a difference in life expectancy between the two groups of seniors, they have come up with a logical reason. They believe that by being on call to help look after the younger members of the family, the seniors develop a sense of purpose. Coupled with  the fact that they need to be physically and mentally fit to run after the grandkids, these factors seem to justify the study’s findings.

As tired parents across the country might now be racing to the phone to encourage the grandparents to come and babysit, bear in mind that looking after kids is exhausting and grandparents need to be up to the task. However, you can always try leaving your little ones for short spaces of time just to give your parents the opportunity to feel needed, less lonely, and to build that precious relationship. If they really can’t babysit, for practical or physical reasons, try scheduling regular video calls so the young and old can have something to look forward to.

There are more details as to how the research was carried out here.

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