Grandparents are stepping up to the plate in a big way with grandkids. In fact, nearly 33% of US grandparents provide some form of childcare for their grandkids five days or more each week, and 40% regularly fill the role of babysitters. While spending time with grandkids is fun and fulfilling, it also seems to extend one’s life.
Grandparents who provided noncustodial caretaking for their grandkids over a 20-year period actually lowered their risk of death by 37%, compared with those who kept their distance, according to the Berlin Aging Study (Chicago.CBSLocal.com, 2017). The experts aren’t surprised by these findings. “There is a link between providing this care and reducing stress and we know the relationship between stress and higher risk of dying,” according to Dr. Ronan Factora, a Geriatric Medicine specialist at the Cleveland Clinic. Babysitting also seems to keep aging brains alert and active. While becoming a backup babysitter clearly has benefits, problems do arise when grandparents overdo it.
Serving as a primary caregiver can be stressful for older consumers. With this in mind, Factora stated: “You want to make sure that you find that right balance … and [avoid] doing too much and getting to the point where the activity makes one overly stressed.”