According to a study by the Women’s Healthy Aging Plan Project in Australia, taking care of grandchildren once every week can keep grandmothers mentally sharp. This comes as great news, particularly for women after menopause when they need to lessen their risk of developing cognitive disorder or conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.
According to a report, looking after grandchildren five days a week or more can actually have negative effects on tests of mental aptitude and sharpness. Older women who are socially active have a better cognitive function and a lesser risk of developing dementia in their later years but too much of a good thing can be bad for a person.
For a study, 186 women, aged between 57 and 68, undertook three tests of mental sharpness and took into account whether their children have been demanding of them over the course of the past year. Grandmothers who spent one day every week in taking care of their grandkids performed best in two out of the three tests and but those who were caring for their grandchildren five or more times every week performed badly on one of the tests assessing mental processing speed and memory.
The finding from the above research was not something that researchers expected. They also found out that the more time grandmothers spent in looking after their grandchildren, the more they felt that their children became more demanding of them. While mood does play a significant role in the results, researchers are following this up with more studies.
Previous research has looked into the relationship between being socially engaged and being mentally sharp but this is the first time that research of this type and topic has been explored. Since grandmothering is a very important and common role for postmenopausal women, it is important that we know as much as we can about the effects this can on their future health.