What if, you discover a secret that can add years to your life? Becoming a grandparent is the most wonderful feeling ever. But are you aware that babysitting your grandchildren may help you live longer? Yes, researchers associated with the Berlin Aging Study recently conducted a study on this regard and found that grandparents who babysit their grandkids have 37% lower mortality risk in comparison to the seniors of the same age who are not involved in childcare. The journal Evolution and Human Behavior published in 2016 talks about this research work .
"Caregiving may give caregivers a purpose of life because caregivers may feel useful for the others and for the society," said Bruno Arpino, who was the associate professor at the Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, Spain.
The study was conducted among 500+ participants age 70 and above. They completed interviews with the experts and several medical tests at their home which was repeated after every 2 years between 1990 and 2009, according to the study.
During the study, they were asked about their frequency of caretaking their grandchildren in the past one year. To mention, caretaking means looking after their grandchildren and do some activities with them without the involvement of parents. Their answers were then noted on a scale of seven with 1 for never and 7 for everyday involvement.
The Berlin study revealed that the risk of mortality in a time of 20 years was one-third lower for those grandparents who look after and spend most of their time with their grandkids compared to those grandparents or seniors who are not involved in childcare.
Sonja Hilbrand, a doctoral student in the department of psychology at the University of Basel in Switzerland said, "spending time with grandchildren and helping friends and family members arguably give people a sense of purpose and helps keep them physically and mentally active". She added, "Having no contact with grandchildren at all can negatively impact the health of grandparents".
The research also indicates that being a grandparent can help in the wellbeing of a person's health by improving their cognitive functions and mental health.