The Jakarta Post
Published in the Evolution and Human Behavior journal, researchers say that although babysitting full-time may harm seniors’ health, occasionally taking care of their grandchildren can actually improve their health. (Shutterstock/File)
Grandparents who help take care of their grandchildren or other people tend to live longer compared to those who don’t, a study suggests.
Published in the Evolution and Human Behavior journal, researchers say that although babysitting full-time may harm seniors’ health, occasionally taking care of their grandchildren can actually improve their health.
The same goes with the elderly who take care of strangers. According to Antara news agency, the study found that elders who take care of their relatives or even complete strangers tend to live at least seven years longer, while those who don’t are expected to live only four years longer.
(Read also: Benefits of a mother's touch)
“This could be a form of mechanism rooted from our evolution in the past, when taking care of children was crucial to human’s sustainability,” said research head Sonja Hilbrand, a doctoral student of the University of Basel’s Psychology Department.
The study, part of the Berlin Aging Study from 1990-2009, which involved more than 500 people over 70 years of age who participated in interviews and medical health tests every two years, also found that taking care of people gives a sense of purpose to the elderly, in addition to keeping them physically and mentally active.
The study throughout the 20-year research period also reveals that grandparents who babysit their grandchildren have a one-third lower risk of dying compared to those who do not. Half of the grandparents who occasionally take care of their grandchildren were reportedly still alive ten years after their first interview. Similar results were also found in elders who helped their adult children with housework.
Meanwhile, around half of the participants who did not take care of others passed away within the first five years of the research. (mas/kes)
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