CLEVELAND – National Grandparents’ Day is this Sunday.
If you have grandchildren, you know how special that bond can be.
Not to mention spending time with them can also be great for your health.
“Some of the physical benefits of spending time with grandchildren include being more active,” said Kenneth Koncilja, MD, geriatrician for Cleveland Clinic. “Older adults who are spending time with younger children, especially helping to care or babysit, tend to be more active, get more steps per day, more exercise.”
Dr. Koncilja said that kind of activity has huge benefits for blood sugar, blood pressure, and even stress hormones.
On top of that, there are a lot of other advantages.
He said older adults who spend time with grandchildren tend to have improved levels of dopamine and oxytocin – feel good hormones.
Lastly, there’s the social aspect.
Depression and isolation can be a big problem for older adults.
However, spending time with grandchildren can give them a sense of purpose and a sense of connection.
And speaking of connection, there are many ways to stay in touch now-a-days, even if you can’t see them in person.
“It’s pretty amazing all the options and avenues older adults have to stay connected today thanks to technology,” said Dr. Koncilja. “Older adults are more facile with the internet and video chat than ever before, and the tools that we have to connect are ever increasing.”
He adds that older adults can also benefit from intellectually stimulating activities, many of which can easily be done with a grandchild.
For example, grandparents could help with homework, play a game or music, read them a book, or practice sounding out words.