Grandparenting and Alzheimer’s

We baby boomers are becoming grandparents at a very fast pace!  There is no doubt that being a grandparent is a joy.  I can only speak for myself when I say that I could just eat my grandson up with a spoon because he’s so sweet!  A lot of my friends and relatives have become grandparents in the last few years.  How much do we babysit the grandchildren?  That seems to be the big question!

It runs the gamut. I know a couple of ladies who watch grandchildren five days a week.  A close friend babysits two days a week, while some grandparents I know only babysit here and there with no permanent arrangement.  I guess the most prevalent is the one day a week stint.  I fall into that category as well as a few of my friends.

My friends and I are lucky that our children live near us and we get a chance to bond with the grandchildren.  I would be very sad if they moved away.  But, for grandparents, the decision to babysit all day for grandchildren can be a dicey one.  One grandma I know tells me that she is glad that she lives far away from her grandchildren, for while she loves them, she does not want to be pressured into babysitting.  Another tells me that she wants to be happy every time she sees her grandchildren, not tired and frustrated that she has to babysit all day again.

My daughter sent me a link to this article which proposes the idea that grandparents could lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s if they babysit for their grandchildren.   Really?  Ah!  There is a little catch:

New research reveals that women who take care of their grandchildren one day a week are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s. This is because the mental activity derived from looking after youngsters can actually increase brain function. Women who looked after their grandchildren one day a week had a better memory for words. (Keep in mind, however, that if grandparents look after grand-kids five days a week or more, it can actually have a negative impact on their mental health.) Since Irene started looking after her two granddaughters once a week, she no longer has pain in her bones or a vitamin D deficiency — this is from being outside more often, as well as being more mentally and physically active. Check out the video to hear more about this study!

 

 

 

 

 

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10 Responses to Grandparenting and Alzheimer’s

  1. I’m not a grandmother (yet!) but I can see where running around after your grandkids would be good exercise and reading to them/keeping up with their interests could boost your brainpower. However, I’m a firm believer that grandparents should be ‘occasional’ caregivers only; we raised our own kids (many of us on a full time basis), we shouldn’t be expected to give up our well-deserved retirement by raising the next generation. I’m shocked by how many ‘kids’ expect their parents to be full time babysitters and how many ‘oldsters’ I see pushing baby buggies around the mall.

    • seniledenial says:

      My daughter lives about an hour and a half away from us. She comes up on Sunday night and works all day Monday at a company in my town. This is perfect for me because I get to spend that time with my grandson every week. I love that but it is tiring by the end of the day. I have a friend who told a group of us at book club how her daughter just assumed that when she had kids grandma would want to watch them full time while she worked. Needless to say we all had a good laugh about that. Thanks for the comment. 🙂

  2. valleygrail says:

    If grandparents wish to care for the little guys, wonderful! If they do not, just say no. We all have our places in each others lives, and the healthiest relationships seem to be based on truthful, sincere interaction. There should not ever be any sense of obligation. That would spoil everything.

    • seniledenial says:

      Thanks for the comment. I agree with you, but from what I have heard from all the grandparents I have talked to, we still feel the need to want to help our kids when they struggle. As you say, honesty is the best policy!

      • valleygrail says:

        An attitude of gratitude goes so far in happy relationships. I am fortunate to live with three of my grandchildren, and there isn’t anything or any time
        I would refuse them or their parents. I get so much more than I invest in them.

      • seniledenial says:

        I think that your grandchildren are the fortunate ones. Gratitude rather than assumption or obligation is always the better choice. 🙂

  3. benzeknees says:

    All my children are grown, but unfortunately live a 15 hour car ride away from me (we moved to Alberta while they all stayed in Manitoba). None of them seem to be in any hurry to have grandchildren though. I have 2 stepgrandsons that I have yet to meet. This is a little sad for me because I have a COPD diagnosis now & my time is now limited – it’s very unlikely I will die an old woman – so I may not meet any future grandchildren if they don’t get their skates on!

    • seniledenial says:

      I hope you get to see some grandchildren soon. I never pushed my daughter about having a baby, but it is amazing how much you love them when they get here. Sorry for the COPD diagnosis. I worked with quite a few patients with COPD, some of them were quite old. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

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