Child Development / Family Research

Grandparents Who Babysit One Day Per Week Are Less Likely to Develop Alzheimer’s

Most grandparents will already know that the addition of grandchildren to the family add a source of much joy and love.

It has however now been scientifically shown that grandparents who babysit their grandkids have a reduced chance of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

The study which was published by the Journal of the North American Menopause Society followed 120 grandparents in Australia and found that those that babysat one day each week scored higher on a range of cognitive tests [ http://journals.lww.com/menopausejournal/Citation/2014/10000/Role_of_grandparenting_in_postmenopausal_women_s.7.aspx ]

They did however find that too much babysitting led to poor results. Those that babysat for five days per week or more struggled with the tests, so before you call mom and dad to ask them to babysit more, remember it is everything in moderation.

A wider body of research shows that regal interaction of any type with other human beings leads to a happier state of mind. Many grandparents who babysit once or a few times each week report increased levels of life satisfaction which is linked to the increased feeling of purpose and more importantly, the receiving of love.
[January 18, 2016, http://www.redhotawesome.com/breaking-grandparents-who-babysit-are-less-likely-to-develop-alzheimers/ ]

Menopause: October 2014 – Volume 21 – Issue 10 – p 1069–1074, doi: 10.1097/GME
Abstract

Objective: Preserving aging cognition improves quality of life and delays dementia onset. Previous studies have shown that social engagement can maintain cognition; however, none has examined the effects of grandparenting, an important role among postmenopausal women. This study aims to examine the role of grandparenting in cognition among postmenopausal women.

Methods: Participants were 186 Australian women from the longitudinal prospective Women’s Healthy Aging Project. Cognition was assessed using the Symbol-Digit Modalities Test (SDMT), California Verbal Learning Test, and Tower of London.

Results: Amount of time spent minding grandchildren predicted differences in SDMT performance (P < 0.01). The highest cognitive scores for most tests were seen in participants who minded grandchildren for 1 day/week. Minding grandchildren for 1 day/week was also a significant positive predictor of California Verbal Learning Test immediate recall performance (P < 0.05). However, minding grandchildren for 5 days or more per week predicted lower SDMT performance (P < 0.05).

Conclusions: The data suggest that the highest cognitive performance is demonstrated by postmenopausal women who spend 1 day/week minding grandchildren; however, minding grandchildren for 5 days or more per week predicts lower working memory performance and processing speed. These results indicate that highly frequent grandparenting predicts lower cognitive performance.