For most grandparents, looking after their grandchildren is done for the pure joy – but it also seems it may help nan and pop live longer!

Most parents are grappling with the increasing cost of childcare, so asking their own parents to look after the grandchildren is becoming more and more common. And if you needed an extra nudge to convince your parents that looking after the grandkids is beneficial, this might be it!

The Berlin Aging Study, which looked at the mental and physical health of more than 500 people aged between 70 and 103 years old, compared grandparents who provided occasional childcare with those who didn’t, as well as older adults who didn’t have kids or grandchildren, but who provided care for others in their social network.

What they discovered at the end of the 20 year study was that half of the grandparents who took care of their grandchildren were still alive 10 years after the first interview in 1990. It was the same for those who didn’t have grandchildren, but who supported their children with things like housework. And here’s the clincher – about half of those who didn’t care for their grandchildren or others died within five years.


“But helping shouldn’t be misunderstood as a panacea for a longer life,” explained Ralph Hertwig, Director of the Center for Adaptive Rationality at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development. “A moderate level of caregiving involvement does seem to have positive effects on health. But previous studies have shown that more intense involvement causes stress, which has negative effects on physical and mental health,” says Hertwig.

Ronan Factora, M.D., of Cleveland Clinic, which didn’t take part in the study, said there are a few reasons why their are health benefits for seniors who are caregivers.

“We know that as you age, you want to stay physically active; you want to stay socially engaged; you want to be cognitively stimulated; and all those things allow you to age well,” said Dr. Factora.

“There is a link between providing this care and reducing stress and we know the relationship between stress and higher risk of dying,” said Dr. Factora. “If providing care to grandchildren and others in need is one way that can actually reduce stress, then these activities should be of benefit to folks who are grandparents and provide this care to their grandkids.”

Do you look after your grandkids? Or do you parents look after your kids? Do you see the benefits? Let us know in the comments below. 

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  • The grandparent/grandchild relationship is such a special one. If the grandparents are able to do it, then it’s a win-win for all, the children grow up with some very special memories.


  • My parents look after my boys regularly and they have an amazing relationship. It’s wonderful to see the love my kids have for them and my parents for my boys.


  • I wish I lived closed enough to my grandkids to be able to do this. I’m very much saddened at how much I’m missing out on


  • I wish I had my parents or in-laws living close enough that they could help look after my kids occasionally.


  • Something to look forward to for future? Grandkids to help us live longer?


  • Poor mum has her daughter and grandson living with her! But I can see the benefits for her!


  • I am so great full that I have my parents and my partners mum around to help with the kids. It’s such a special time in their life and the kids just adore their grandparents xx

    • Wonderful when there’s such a special bond !


  • My Grandchildren are adults now and my Great Grandson (who is one) lives a 3 hour drive away so it’s not possible. I do miss spending time with them and more so since my late husband passed away. I have my dog who needs special care and she keeps me going.

    • I can imagine that is hard Tessie, glad your dog keeps you going !


  • I’m not even nearly there yet but my son did spend a lot of time with his Nana for mixed benefits.


  • This makes sense; being able to receive love and give love, being important and valued, being stimulated and part of community are all important aspects for our drive, for mental health and wish to live


  • I hope to get to experience babysitting my grandson one day


  • I think I need to show my parents this article haha


  • Wow, my in-laws are in trouble. We seldom bother asking them anymore as it’s too hard.


  • Bubs has a great relationship with both sets of grandparents, the ones who live closer he gets to see more often in person and my folks who live much further away we try and video chat every couple of weeks.


  • I can certainly imagine that babysitting your grandkids may help you live longer ! I had my kids at a late age, so have no grandkids yet, hopefully one day !


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