A recent research has shown that babysitting or taking care of grandchildren can help grandparents fight old age issues like dementia and Alzheimer's. This simply means that seniors can improve their mental health when they babysit kids.
If done for a limited time in a week – without grandparents feeling stress out, babysitting can help grandparents improve their cognitive skills.
On the other hand, some findings have suggested that spending time with grandparents is beneficial for kids too, as it improves their mental health as well.
Thus, babysitting is a win-win deal for both grandparents struggling with dementia or Alzheimer's and kids who enjoy healthy development under the supervision of seniors. In this blog, we will discuss this topic in detail.
Should seniors babysit the kids?
In old age, seniors are prone to many health issues affecting both their physical and mental health. Babysitting at such an age can be challenging, as grandparents do not have the energy and strength they had once.
The impact of age is such that many psychological, emotional and physical changes happen in the lives of seniors. The thought processing speed of the brain slows, and they might develop memory problems, loss of muscle mass, weaker bones or arthritis.
Seniors are also prone to developing chronic conditions in old age such as high blood pressure, heart diseases, depression, dementia, and Alzheimer's. Such age-related diseases or conditions can affect their ability to babysit their grandchildren and understand the psychology of children.
The warning signs can be cognitive decline, muscle weakness, chronic diseases, memory issues, stress, and mood changes.
Even with all these issues, babysitting can be a fun experience for both grandparents and kids with some precautions. If you give seniors some flexibility and don't overdo babysitting time, then it can be a rejoicing experience for them.
At the start, you can ask grandparents if they are willing to babysit the children. If they are happily ready for the task, you can supervise their needs and preferences.
Benefits of babysitting by grandparents:
There are many benefits of babysitting by seniors or grandparents. Here is a list:
Overdoing it may stress grandparents:
Just like everything, overdoing babysitting can be stressful for grandparents. It is therefore important to strike the right balance between the needs of kids and seniors.
At old age, too much physical activity is not good, as it may elevate the risk of developing diseases. Seniors might experience fatigue and stress when they babysit for long hours or for many days in the week, which is not advisable.
Thus, it is important to maintain a schedule in which both grandparents and grandchildren find babysitting fun and easy.
If seniors are experiencing issues such as dementia and Alzheimer's, babysitting once or twice a week is enough for them to restore better mental health in old age.
How babysitting is good for the mental health of grandparents?
In 2014, there was a study conducted in Australia which came up with the findings that grandmothers who babysit their grandchildren are less likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer's as compared to those who don't.
There are several studies like this which indicate the same. If not overdone, seniors who babysit their grandchildren live happily and for longer.
Babysitting helps grandparents to establish a bond with grandchildren and find new enthusiasm in life. This is good for both their physical and mental health.
Though, it is important not to overdo the babysitting because it may have adverse effects on the mental functioning of grandparents as they may feel exhaustion.
Babysitting lowers the risk of Alzheimer's & Dementia
Babysitting can be a boon to the health of grandparents who are likely to develop diseases like dementia and Alzheimer's. As it gives a chance to socialize, seniors are likely to find an improvement in their cognitive behavior.
Spending time with kids can be both challenging and rewarding at the same time. It gives a sense of purpose for grandmothers and grandfathers who are experiencing issues with their mental health or combating stress in their daily routine.
Grandparents who babysit live longer:
Apart from benefitting the deteriorating cognitive abilities of seniors, babysitting has been found to increase the lifespan of grandparents.
Those babysitting at an older age are more likely to live for another 20 years or so. A recent study found an association between grandparents babysitting and mortality.
The study focused on grandparents who provided periodic babysitting to their grandchildren. It was found that grandparents who were involved in babysitting had a 37% lower risk of death as compared to those who didn't.
What activities are rewarding?
Grandparents and grandchildren can be involved in some activities that are rewarding to both of them. Given below is a list of some activities that can be done together:
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