Grandparents who care for grandchildren live up to 10 years, says study
A new study in Germany has shown that grandparents who care for children have more longevity, and can live to be 10 years longer than those who do not participate so much in the routine of children.
Researchers analyzed the life of 500 people between 70 and 103 years of age who were followed up by the Berlin Aging Study for 19 years. They observed what was the difference in mortality rate among grandparents who helped care for grandchildren, participating in their upbringing, and grandparents who did not have grandchildren or did not live with them. have the custody of children and are primarily responsible for them, since the idea was to focus on the figure of the grandparents as a support of the parents of children.
The results of the study showed that living with grandchildren and caring for them reduced the risk of mortality. Half of the group of grandparents present lived for ten years after the research began. However, in the opposite group, about 50% of them survived for another 5 years.
The scientists did a second analysis with the elderly who did not have grandchildren, dividing them among those who helped their children, either with emotional support or (or did not have children).
Again, they noticed a 5-year survival rate higher than among older people who did not have this bond. However, the researchers do not believe that elderly people who do not have children or grandchildren are destined to die sooner.
During the third stage of the study, they exclusively investigated this group of elderly people, realizing that many of them intended to help and support friends and neighbors, creating another kind of community. In this case, the average survival was seven years, in contrast to 4 years among the elderly who did not maintain this collaborative relationship with their children.
The researchers consider that living with the family helps the elderly physically and psychologically. In addition, they believe the study supports an evolutionary theory called Grandma's Hypothesis, which attempts to explain why humans live so long after their fertile phase is over.
In nature this is not common because evolutionarily speaking, our function is reproduction and maintenance of the species. Thus, the grandparents who help take care of their children change this paradigm: a less busy mother with a baby can reproduce faster and produce an even larger offspring.
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