02 Sep The Surprising Health Advantages of Grandparenting
Aging can be a real pain in the rear (or hips…), but believe it or not, there are some perks to getting older. Just ask any grandparent and you’ll realize how much fun it is.
Becoming a grandparent can be one of the most rewarding experiences of someone’s life. Grandparenting is a lot like parenting, with one awesome advantage– there are no rules. You get to spoil your grandkids as much as you want! And when the day is over, you get to hand them back over to their parents. (And let’s not forget about how fun it is to see you adult children be parents.)
As a grandparent, you are the fun one. You are the one who your grandkids confide in and trust. You are the one who gets to share with them family stories and traditions, and provide them with wisdom. In a nutshell, you are their favorite person! It’s a pretty neat feeling, isn’t it? (It may have taken a couple of decades to get here, but it’s worth it).
But did you know there are some health benefits associated with being a grandparent, too? Check it out:
Improved Brain Function
Studies have shown that fostering relationships with grandchildren can help keep seniors sharp. This shouldn’t come as too big of a surprise as often, any form of social engagement will help stimulate the brain and keep one’s mind healthy and active. Because older people are usually not as busy as younger adults, they sometimes lose interacting socially with people. But spending time together with your grandkids can help fix that.
Speaking of cognitive functioning, grandparenting has also been linked to keeping dementia at bay, and lowering your risk for Alzheimer’s. According to a report from CBS News, women who babysit their grandkids had a lower risk of the disease than other people.
Improved Psychological Health
You may have noticed how happy you feel when playing with your grandkids. That’s because good relationships affect your mental state as well. The closer the bond you have with your grandchildren, the more fulfilled you feel, helping you feel happier and preventing feelings of depression.
Feeling like a valued member of a family can increase someone’s sense of worth. As a grandparent who is involved with your grandkids, this will greatly enhance your psychological health.
Lower Levels of Stress
Activities such as smiling or laughing a lot are great forms of stress relief. When you interact with your grandkids through play and laughter, not only are you helping decrease levels of stress, but you’re also increasing your longevity. A study reported in The Sydney Morning Herald found that grandparents who regularly cared for their grandkids lived longer than grandparents who didn’t spend time with their kids’ children.
Improved Physical Health
If there’s one thing that’s certain, it’s that kids have an insane amount of energy. And you’re right, older people often don’t have much energy themselves. As people age, they lose the stamina and strength they once had–in part due to lack of physical activity. However, when you take the time to actually play with your grandchildren, it forces you to be more active, and the more active we are, the more energy we have. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that seniors who are more physically active can help reduce their blood pressure, improve their quality of sleep, reduce their risk for diabetes and certain kinds of cancer, improve muscle strength, and help reduce the risk of falling. Who doesn’t want that?
It’s even been said that spending time with grandchildren can also improve your immune system. When people experience physical touch, they frequently have a loss in inflammatory cells, and an increase in white blood cells (the cells that fight off the bad cells).
“Older and wiser” is often attributed to older people as they’ve been around for a long time and have gained a lot of important life skills, and learned some of life’s most important lessons. Grandparents can share their experiences with grandchildren and share their own cultural history. In addition, grandparents can learn a lot from their grandkids as they learn of the latest trends and technology.
Aging doesn’t seem so bad when you look at all of the health advantages of being a grandparent. Let Aegis help you with your other medical needs. Contact us today at 480-219-4790.