They say that the company of youth can keep a spirit young. Well, according to a new study, a weekly date with Grandma may actually keep her mentally sharp. The study researched women ages 57 to 68 and found that grandmothers who spend one day a week with their grandchildren are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than those who don’t. This is because the mental activity that is required when taking care of children can increase brain function, which can lead to a healthier mental state and overall well-being.
However, too much of a good thing can be harmful. The opposite results were shown in grandmothers who were the primary caretakers of, or who spent more than five days a week with, their grandchildren. It is no secret that children, especially at a younger age, require a lot of work and attention, not just mentally but physically as well. Constant caretaking can take a toll on mind and body, possibly increasing susceptibility to diseases such has Alzheimer’s.
The overall focus of the study was to show the relationship between social interaction and cognitive functions. In addition, some of the women studied said that the time with grandchildren caused them to feel better physically, with less pain in their bones and joints. Even quick interactions such as phone calls or connections via Facebook can reduce the chances of developing Alzheimer’s.
Next time you need a break, send the kids to their grandma. The kids will love the time they get to spend with her, and her brain will thank you later!