Babysitting Grandchildren Could Lower the Risk for Alzheimer’s

Last Updated: October 26, 2018

There’s nothing like children to keep older adults active and joyful. A recent study shows that babysitting grandchildren may actually prevent Alzheimer’s disease by increasing brain function and memory.Babysitting Grandchildren Could Lower Risk for Alzheimer's

In addition to boosting brain power, babysitting has been linked to decreased rates of depression. Learn more about the correlation between babysitting grandchildren and a grandparent’s health and see some great ideas on activities to do together.

How Babysitting Grandchildren Could Lower the Risk for Alzheimer’s

Researchers from the Women’s Health Aging Project in Australia first observed how babysitting grandchildren could lower the risk for Alzheimer’s when viewing the cognitive function of over 180 women who cared for their 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. However, those that spend five days a week or more caring for little ones may have a higher risk of developing neurodegenerative disorders.

This was 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 and lower their risk for Alzheimer’s. Caring for grandchildren can 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.

10 Activities for Grandparents and Grandchildren

The age gap between grandchild and grandparent does not have to be a barrier to having fun and spending time with each other.

Here are some fun, family-friendly activities for all ages:

  1. Bring out the good china and have a tea party.
  2. Camp in your own backyard.
  3. Create a family tree together.
  4. Go to a local farmer’s market and make a pie with your fresh fruit.
  5. Go on a nature walk.
  6. Play a card game.
  7. Start a book club.
  8. Start a journal where you write letters to each other.
  9. Take a trip to the local zoo.
  10. Teach your grandchild one of your favorite hobbies (crocheting, woodworking, etc.)

What are some of your favorite things to do with your grandchildren? Share how you lower your risk for Alzheimer’s and stay young at heart, in the comments below.

Related Articles:

Please leave your thoughts and comments

  • Marea

    I have got 12 grandchildren but only see four of them regularly (3 or 4 times a week), mostly the two boys of 5 and 7. We play games like snakes and ladders,go to the cinema and read books and more,

  • crabjack

    Sub-title for this post: “Babysitting Grandkids Could Increase Risk for Alzheimer’s”

  • Basha

    My grandson is 6 we read, do puzzles, play card games, play board games like candyland, sorry, trouble, chutes and ladders. We watch a good movie after making some popcorn. The best thing is when he wants to snuggle up and read to me. He enjoys building with Legos, and doing arts and crafts, many of his art works hang on the refrigerator. The one thing I do know is he keeps me young at heart. He likes to help cook especially measuring things, he loves to dig in the garden too. It’s wonderful to watch him learn and he thinks it all fun and not work. Life should be a fun wonderful learning experience.

  • Nopenotfounded

    I really dislike these sensationalized internet articles where conjecture and second-hand information are instantly turned into fact; and anyone can be an expert by simple rote of singing up to write an article. This could be a reputable website if only they would screen their authors a bit more closely. This may sound like sour grapes, but you only need to read the “about the author” at the bottom of this page to see that the writer (though she writes well) has no professional connection to the research of Alzheimer’s.

    • Cindy MacNeil

      Would it be that terrible to believe it to be true anyway?

  • Farallon

    To Nopenotfounded:
    I don’t see, anywhere in the article, where she claims to be originator of the data. She does quote sources who’ve done the research and come to some conclusion which bears more research which will be interesting. Criticize the research, if you can. This writer is the courier of research, not the researcher.

  • Mamaw

    My grandchildren love playing “restaurant”. They make me wait to be seated (just like at real restaurant), give me hand written menu, serve drinks (after retrieving water from faucet). They even go so far as to raid my pantry pulling out easy to serve items: Cheetos, fruit loop cereal, crackers, etc…. and serve on tea set plates and bowls. After meal (yes, even dessert), they bring my handwritten check and swipe my credit card! Yes they always get good tip for great service! haha

    They love going on Nature walks, taking along their buckets or containers to collect treasures found. You’d be surprised how creative children can be with the simplest of their findings!!!!

  • Mary kirkby

    We sit with feet up either end of sofa& rub each others feet! Sometimes I have my nails done. We bake & decorate the cakes. Will not be seen out with me with my Shopping trolley!

  • paulalovescats

    “May have a lower risk,” “may have a higher risk.”
    Meaning what? What’s the point of doing a study if they’re not sure? Do they have to say “may”? Is 180 a small sample?

  • jenn

    I disagree with this study. My grandmother babysat me almost every day and she got a very agressive and fast moving Alzheimer’s disease.

  • Melinda Mills

    Very good ideas.

  • Sue

    I’m so impressed with these grandparents who watch their grandkids. I couldn’t get my mom to do that and, yes, she has aged poorly –both mentally and physically. She’s so caught up in her health issues and those of the folks around her. My kids are teenagers now and don’t have much to say to her because that early bond was never established.

  • Barbara

    I have my Great Grand Daughter 24/7 She is a blessing. We have such a great time .Noting like an 8 month old to keep you busy and young.

About The Author

Profile photo of Alissa Sauer