Critter Corner: Want to lower your risk for Alzheimer’s? Babysit your grandkids!

Dear Commander Bun Bun,

I take care of my 3 year old grandson, Jake, every day, and boy does he keep me moving. I read somewhere that spending time with grandchildren can help stave off Alzheimer’s. Have you heard anything about this?

B.Z. Nanna

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Dear B.Z.,

Grandchildren keep seniors joyful and active. And you are right. A recent study shows that spending time with them may actually prevent Alzheimer’s disease!

In a recent study, researchers from the Women’s Health Aging Project in Australia observed the cognitive function of over 180 women who cared for grandchildren. The results showed that postmenopausal women who spend one day a week caring for their grandchildren may have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s and other cognitive disorders.

This is the first study to examine the role of grandparenting on cognition. While the reason for the correlation is not clear, it is thought that regular social interaction can have a positive effect on the mental health of seniors. Caring for grandchildren can also help to prevent the social isolation that can cause depression, and even an earlier death.

In addition to preventing Alzheimer’s and avoiding social isolation, other research suggests that a strong grandchild and grandparent bond has anti-depressive benefits for both seniors and children. A study from the Institute on Aging at Boston College observed the habits of 376 grandparents and 340 children for 19 years. They found that “the closer the relationship between the two, the less likely either were to develop depression and that grandparents who both gave and received support had the fewest symptoms of depression.”

Check out this video from CBS morning news for more details!

Hop you and your grandson are having a great day!

Commander Bun Bun

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About Renee Eder

Renee Eder is the Director of Public Relations for the Farr Law Firm, and gives the voice to the Critters of Critter Corner. Renee’s poodle, Penny, is an official comfort dog who she and her children bring to visit with seniors who are in the early stages of dementia at a local senior home once a month.

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