Posted on Jun 15, 2014, 4 p.m.
Taking care of one’s grandchildren one day a week may help preserve memory and cognition, among older women.
Previously, a number of studies suggest beneficial roles for social interactions, mood enhancement and mental engagement to reduce the risks of Alzheimer’s Disease. Cassandra Szoeke, from the University of Melbourne (Australia), and colleagues analyzed data collected on 186 Australian women enrolled in the 20-year-long study known as the Women's Healthy Aging Project. The researchers found that postmenopausal women who took care of their grandchildren one day a week had better memory and faster cognitive speed than those who didn't. However, women who cared for grandchildren five or more days a week had significantly slower processing speed and planning scores, which the team posits may be due to feelings of exhaustion, anxiety, and stress. The study authors conclude that: “the highest cognitive performance is demonstrated by postmenopausal women who spend 1 day/week minding grandchildren.”
Burn KF, Henderson VW, Ames D, Dennerstein L, Szoeke C. “Role of grandparenting in postmenopausal women's cognitive health: results from the Women's Healthy Aging Project.” Menopause. 2014 Apr 7.