Caring for grandchildren increases life expectancy in grandparents

How easy do family life make grandparents. Despite their age, these people are always willing to offer help, either by lending some money on difficult occasions or by staying in the care of the children. Now a new study has revealed that this last activity has very positive effects for the elderly.

This is indicated by a study conducted by the team of the doctor Sonja Hilbrand, PhD candidate at the Department of Psychology of the University of Basel, Switzerland. With this investigation it was tried to verify if the contact of the grandparents with the grandchildren could have some positive effect on the health of the first.

Positive contact between grandparents and grandchildren

To check this hypothesis, this team analyzed the results of a subsequent study carried out in Germany where a questionnaire was carried out 500 seniors of 70 years between the years 1990 and 2009. These data were divided into two groups: elders who helped third parties and who took care of their grandchildren, and those who did not perform this activity.


After separating some risk factors such as smoking or other congenital health problems, the results confirmed the hypothesis that the researchers had left. The life expectancy of the grandparents who took care of their grandchildren was 20 years older than the group that does not.

In fact, most of these people who took care of their grandchildren were still alive ten years after having made the first interview. On the contrary, just over half of the grandparents who had not taken over these tasks had died five years after this first survey.

Evolutive mechanism in the health of the grandparents

"Not having contact with grandchildren influences negatively in the health of the grandparents ", says the doctoral candidate Hilbrand, responsible for this study, who points out that the causes of these data may be in the evolutionary mechanisms inscribed in our genes, according to this expert in the past the care and teaching of grandchildren was one of the keys to human survival.


On the other hand you can not avoid the great influence that the family has for grandparents. Loneliness is a great danger for the elderly that after years and years surrounded by people, being without anyone around can cause severe depression that seriously affects your health and cut your life expectancy.

In fact, another research done by the Alzheimer's Research and Treatment Center at Brigham and Women's Hospital, in Boston, showed that those people who felt alone were more likely to develop this type of dementia. This is because the fact of not being accompanied by anyone favors the appearance of a protein called amyloid, which is related to this degenerative disease.

Damián Montero

Video: Why Grandparents Are Key To Human Survival


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