What kind of effect does taking care of your grandchildren have on your health? Nowadays with many more mothers being in the workforce, and with many more single parent families, grandparents face additional pressures in taking care of their grandchildren.
This is sometimes taken for granted as an obligation by the society, thus resulting in poor policies and neglect of grandparents’ wellbeing. For so long the effects of grandchildren care on the grandparents’ health were not clear. Therefore, no action was taken in favour of grandparents’ wellbeing.
Well, there are so many things to take into consideration regarding this topic, therefore it was decided that research had to be conducted in order for people to find out more.
The Grandparents Plus Organisation made it their mission to find out how caring for grandchildren impacts the health and wellbeing of grandparents. So, King’s College London Institute of Gerontology researched the topic in 10 European countries and here we summarise what they found.
What did the research suggest?
Looking after grandkids for no more than 15 hours a week has a positive effect on grandparent’s health and wellbeing.
On the contrary, elderly people who are not involved in their grandchildren’s care do not benefit from these health advantages.
Furthermore, grandparents who look after their grandchildren for more than 15 hours a week by living with them or raising them, tend to be in poorer health.
Grandparents who live with their grandchildren were found to have the poorest health of all the three categories mentioned above.
Even when previous health conditions and social background were taken into consideration for the research, the results remained the same.
What are the advantages to grandparents' health?
Grandparents who care for their grandchildren for 15 hours a week experienced both mental and physical health benefits. They feel more active, and they see improvement on their chromic conditions. Moreover, their cognitive function is improved and the depression levels decrease.
So, grandparents can enjoy both the company of their loved grandkids and the benefits of it.
Tips for grandparents
The best thing you can do if you are a grandparent is to be with your little ones for around 15 hours a week. Spending quality time with them does not only create healthy family bonds between you both, but it also improves your wellbeing.
If your grandchildren have a nanny, then you can consider taking over their care if it is for 15 hour a week or less. On the other hand, if you are already looking after your grandkids but it is for a lot more hours a week, you should probably cut down the hours to find some time for yourself as well. It is important that you keep a balance in your life, helping your family, but not neglecting your wellbeing at the same time.
If you are living in one of our lovely care homes, do not worry if you cannot look after your grandchildren. Our beautiful environment at Barchester is perfect for loving family catch ups and you can spend as much time with your grandchildren as you want. We always encourage interaction and family communication.