If you’ve ever felt a little guilt about handing your kids off to your parents or your in-laws too often, I’m here to set you free. As it turns out — and let’s pretend we knew this all along — babysitting their grandkids is actually good for their health.
A study has found that grandparents who are involved in the care of their grandchildren not only live longer than seniors who do not actively care for other people, the numbers are actually quite impressive: They have a 37 per cent lower mortality risk than adults of the same age.
The study doesn’t prove cause and effect, but researchers do have some theories about the results, published on the United Kingdom’s National Health Service website:
Further research would be needed to find out what causes the increased life expectancy of caregivers. The researchers offer a number of explanations, such as spending time with grandchildren is a good way for older people to have a sense of purpose, while keeping them physically and mentally active.
The study was published in 2017, but I stumbled across it yesterday on this parenting blog. I immediately shared the good news with my in-laws, who had watched my son for a few hours the day before. My mother-in-law promptly responded with: “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!”
(See, all those games of Go Fish and Crazy Eights are keeping her sharp.)