New Study Says Babysitting Can Help Prevent Alzheimer’s

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An Australian study suggests that spending one day a week babysitting grandchildren can help increase brain power, decrease depression, and therefore, contribute to fighting off Alzheimer’s. WFAA spoke to excited new grandparent Mary Humm who said, “I found that I had to reach back into the recesses of my memories of what it was like to calm and soothe a baby.” By accessing her mothering memories, taking on a teaching role, and exercising (picking up and caring for a baby can be very physical), she’s boosting her brain and hopefully preventing Alzheimer’s. posted about the same study, noting that the research was conducted specifically on post-menopausal women with grandchildren. It’s also important to understand that the study concluded that it’s only small doses of babysitting that’s beneficial. Women who babysat once a week “may have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s and other cognitive disorders. However, those that spend five days a week or more caring for little ones may have a higher risk of developing neurodegenerative disorders.”

Another study suggests that when grandparents babysit their grandchildren, it has a positive impact on the kids, too. The Institute on Aging at Boston College studied 716 subjects over 19 years and found that when grandparents and grandchildren have a bond, they both have a lower risk of developing depression.