Babysitting Benefits: Live Longer, Smile More and Keep Rebranding Aging

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Want to live longer, be healthier, smile more — and oh, yes…help your own children out? Grab your grandkids and spend a few hours together!

A new study backs up research that has been coming out for years, and it reminds us that grandparents who help watch kids — their own grandchildren, other family members or just those in need of some extra care — have a lower risk of death over a 20-year period, than those who don’t serve as babysitters or caregivers.

(See data from the Berlin Aging Study here which looked at more than 500 people aged 70 and older.)

Doctors and health experts say it’s likely that there is a strong link between caregiving and stress reduction — and when we’re less stressed, our risks of dying drops. Additionally, carrying around and playing with kids is physically demanding, which can help the body keep its functional fitness and health for longer. It may even lead to  a decrease in the risk of diseases like Alzheimer’s or dementia, which is something researchers are currently looking into.

And did we mention that it’s great for the kids, too? Other studies show that children who interact with grandparents and older people on a regular basis have a much healthier view of aging altogether (plus, they often develop better vocabulary skills, learn about their own family’s roots and culture and become more social).

So, get out there and enjoy your grandchildren!

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