If you are parents and you feel a bit guilty when you ask your own parents to babysit after your children, then you can throw those feelings out the window!
Apparently, grandparents who babysit their grandchildren live longer than those who don’t, according to a recent study.
The study, involving more than 500 participants aged 70 and over, showed that the grandparents who helped care for others lived at least 7 years longer than others.
The study was published in the magazine Evolution and Human Behavior.
People who didn’t care or babysit for others had an average life span of only 4 years after the study was completed. Half the grandparents in the study who did babysit for their grandchildren stayed alive for at least 10 years after the study was completed.
The study claims that goal-setting for older people keeps them active.
Survival of our species
According to Sonja Hilbrand, one of the research authors and a PhD graduate at the University of Basel’s Psychology Department in Switzerland, “Bond can be a mechanism that is deeply rooted in our evolutionary past when helping with children was critical to the survival of our species.”
“The general health is adversely affected in people who have no close contact with their grandchildren”, Hilbrand added.
When you help your older children, you also help yourself to live longer, the study shows. So, feeling that you’re needed give you a purpose that benefits your health as you age.
Bruno Arpino, a professor at Pompeo Fabra University in Barcelona, said it could maintain physical and mental health in the elderly population.
“Caring for others can give caregivers a purpose in life because they feel they are contributing to others and society”, he said. “Caring for others can also be an activity that keeps carers healthy physically and mentally.”
He added that previous researches have shown that cognitive functioning has improved in caregivers, as well as physical and mental health.
The study did not include grandparents who have full custody of their grandchildren.
So if you are a parent, find out more about why you should let your parents babysit your children in the video below: