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The Role Grandchildren Play in Helping Seniors Live Longer

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As a trusted home care agency in Douglas County, we know firsthand that when it comes to living a long and fulfilling life, grandchildren play an important part in their grandparents’ lives. Strong relationships and family ties can measurably benefit a senior’s mental and physical wellbeing in many ways.

Whether a grandparent has a relationship with younger grandchild or adult grandchildren, that relationship gives the senior purpose. A sense of purpose reduces feelings of depression and isolation and promotes longevity. Grandparents especially benefit from this dynamic when the relationship is give and take and each person offers something to the other. For instance, the grandchild or grandchild’s parent provides transportation to doctor’s appointments or budgeting assistance while the grandparent prepares meals, babysits, cares for a pet or provides advice and moral support.

Grandchildren also have the ability to help their grandparents maintain independence. When a grandchild seeks out advice from a grandparent or turns to him or her for conversation or even occasional financial help, the grandchild provides the senior with opportunities to reciprocate the help he or she may receive from the family. This reciprocity decreases a senior’s susceptibility to depression and helps the senior maintain the belief he or she is able to function independently.

Being involved in a grandchild’s life can also offer protection against Alzheimer’s. Older individuals are often in a good place in life to nurture, provide advice, prepare a meal or even help their grandchildren financially. Recently, scientists have discovered that grandparents who maintain this type of relationship with their families often carry a gene that may provide some protection against Alzheimer’s. While further studies are necessary, this finding is promising and may help us to understand why seniors with purpose often live longer and remain healthy well into their golden years.

Social stimulation and mental engagement are both critical in maintaining health and wellness well into the senior years. If you’re concerned your aging parent isn’t getting enough of either, let Home Care Assistance help. We offer Douglas County respite care, hourly care, and live-in care, and all of our care services include the use of the Cognitive Therapeutics Method to stave off mental decline and promote social interaction. Call a friendly Care Manager today at 720-287-1685 to learn more.