Sporadically caring for grandchildren increases grandparents' lives by five years

If you can't convince your parents to stay with your children for dinner or the gym, we are going to give you a devastating argument: Caring for grandchildren, at least sporadically, makes grandparents live longer.

This is the main conclusion of a study carried out by researchers from universities in Europe and Australia and which is published in the scientific journal 'Evolution and Human Behavior'.

The advice your grandparents gave you: which should be followed and which should not

A. López

On the research, 500 people between 70 and 103 years of age were evaluated, using data from the Berlin Study on Aging (Germany) collected between 1990 and 2009.

But with moderation

Grandparents who were the main caregivers or exclusively took care of their grandchildren were not taken into account for the study, focusing only on those who collaborated in their care occasionally to compare their survival with those who never cared for their grandchildren

"Previous studies have shown that more intense participation causes stress, which has negative effects on physical and mental health."

The researchers found that half of the grandparents who cared for their grandchildren they lived about five years longer than those who did not. Participants who did not have grandchildren, but who helped their children with activities such as housework, also lived at least five years longer than those who did not support their children.

At the same time, the elderly who had no children (and therefore no grandchildren), but who helped others in their social environment, lived for about three years more than those who didn't.

A grandfather plays with his granddaughter. Photo: Pixabay.

"Aid not must be misinterpreted as a panacea for a longer life"explains Ralph Hertwig, Director of the Center for Adaptive Rationality at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development (Germany).

"A moderate level of participation in care seems to have positive effects on health. But previous studies have shown that more intense participation causes stress, which has negative effects on physical and mental health, "says the researcher in statements cited by Study Finds.