A recent study says yes! The research shows that grandmothers who babysit their grandkids one day a week scored higher on cognitive function and memory tests. In addition to boosting brain power, these women also have decreased rates of depression. The study was part of the Women’s Healthy Aging Project and included 186 women ages 57-68. The participants were tested using several cognitive assessment tools and were questioned about how often they kept their grandchildren.
However, the study did also find that there can be too much of a good thing. Grandparents who reported babysitting five or more days per week demonstrated lower cognitive skills including memory and processing speeds. They also expressed more frustration and stress due to the amount of care giving they were providing. Interaction with children can provide an important level of social interaction and mental activity which can be beneficial to the adult and reduce dementia and Alzheimer’s risk. The important thing is finding the right balance between spending time with your grandchildren and having time to yourself.
Source: Burn K, Henderson V, Ames D, et al. Role of grandparenting in postmenopausal women’s cognitive health: results from the Women’s Healthy Aging Project. Menopause, 2014 Oct; 21 (10): 1069-1074.