More Than Half Of Grandparents Report Improved Mental Health After Spending Time With The Grandkids
New research has revealed that more than half (56%) of grandparents believe their mental health improves after spending time with the grandkids.
The study of 2,000 grandparents, commissioned by Parkdean Resorts in conjunction with Biogerontologist Dr James Brown, from Channel 4’s Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds, revealed how spending time with the grandkids could be the answer to a happier and healthier life.
James explains: “Spending time with the grandchildren can kick start the process of improving mood, enhancing memory, bettering physical function and reducing loneliness in older adults. All of these benefits can help to slow down elements of age-related decline.”
Sadly though, under a third (30%) of grandparents polled spend less than two hours a week with their grandchildren, despite over half (51%) craving more quality time.
With an ageing population in the UK, improving the health and happiness of our grandparents and great-grandparents is vital. According to Age UK*, more than 2 million people in England over the age of 75 now live alone, with over 1 million older adults going for over a month without speaking to a friend, neighbour or family member.
Unfortunately, in many cases, families live further apart than ever before, and with busy lives it can be difficult for generations to connect. In fact, 40% of grandparents said they live too far away to see their grandkids, whilst nearly a quarter (23%) believe their family are too busy to spend time with them.
Going on a family holiday is one way to spend more quality time together. In fact, a getaway can give older adults something to look forward to, which Dr James Brown believes is crucial: “We know that psychology drives a lot of biology, and in older adults, without that sense of purpose or something to look forward to, biological systems can start to shut down and you can literally die of a broken heart.”
A holiday can also prompt nostalgic memories for older adults too, which is fundamental to keeping the brain young and improving memory function. James explains: “Autobiographical memory contains the information you have about yourself, and for most grandparents, a UK holiday will trigger nostalgic thoughts like ‘I can remember coming here when I was younger’ or ‘I can remember caravan holidays like this when I was a child.”
And it’s not just mental and cognitive health that appears to improve after spending time with young children. Over one third (35%) of grandparents believe their physical health significantly improves too.
James adds: “Children encourage their grandparents to be more active and forget about their physical capabilities. It’s so easy for older adults to define themselves by their inabilities and disabilities, but a family holiday is the perfect opportunity for grandparents to remember just how much they can physically do.”
More Than Half Of Grandparents Report Improved Mental Health After Spending Time With The Grandkids, 2nd April 2019, 9:39 AM