How taking care of the grandkids could add an extra five years onto your life

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While looking after the grandchildren could sometimes be exhausting, taking care of them may in fact add another five years onto your lifespan.

According to research, older people who made time to babysit their grandchildren are not only helping out their family, but also giving themselves huge health benefits. While caring for anyone was found to increase lifespan by three years, looking after grandchildren was even more beneficial.

An international research team looked at people aged between 70 and 103. They ruled out any who were primary care givers to their grandkids, concentrating on people who looked after their grandchildren occasionally.

The research team found that those who gave some care to their grandkids were still alive a decade after first being questioned. But, around half of those who did not had died within a five year period.

Caring

However, even those who did not have grandchildren could still reap the benefits of caring for people. Elderly people who providied help to others went on to live for a further seven years. Meanwhile, those who did not care for anyone, lived for four years.

Researcher Ralph Hertwig from the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin, said the benefits could be felt by providing a “moderate level of care giving”. However, he said that more intense involvement, such as being a main or major care giver, could actually have the opposite effect by causing stress.

The study adds to a growing body of research which suggests that being an active grandparent can help to add years onto our lives. It also follows recently released statistics which reveal that grandparents save parents £5,000 a year in childcare costs.

More than a third of grandparents are providing more than 10 hours per week of childcare during school time, which that increasing to nearly 50 per cent during the school holidays.

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