The VOICE of Health

From Florida Hospital Apopka

For grandparents who pride themselves on being Babysitter-in-Chief, we have good news: a recent study from Germany found that seniors who look after their grandkids may actually live longer.

The study, which examined data from hundreds of seniors age 70 and older, saw a significantly lower risk of death over a 20-year period for those who provide some childcare.

According to Florida Hospital geriatrician Ariel Cole, MD, making a contribution to family and loved ones can benefit seniors both physically and emotionally. “I suspect that meaningful relationships and meaningful work help provide a purpose for older adults,” says Dr. Cole.

“So many seniors come in to talk about medical problems, and their eyes just brighten when I ask about their family, and they show me pictures of their grandchildren. Family is what brings joy to life.”

That joy and sense of fulfillment are the very reason why interpersonal relationships are the sixth pillar of Florida Hospital’s CREATION Health model. Study after study shows that social connectedness provides emotional support, reduces stress and has positive impacts on our overall well-being – even lowering the risk of numerous diseases.

A separate study in Australia recently found that babysitting grandchildren even a moderate amount can help prevent Alzheimer’s Disease. That’s likely because regular interaction with loved ones boosts brain activity and stimulates memory, as seniors take on a role of “teacher” to their grandkids.

“Interpersonal relationships are important to all people of all ages, but they become harder to maintain as we get older,” says Dr. Cole. “We can become more isolated as siblings, spouses, and friends become ill and pass away, and we begin to lose those built-in social structures.”

For that reason, it’s important for seniors to actively seek out social involvement, whether through babysitting or other means. “One marker of successful aging is remaining socially engaged – finding activities and other people with similar interests,” Dr. Cole continues. “There are many opportunities for this, from faith communities to programs and centers for older adults.”

In addition to the emotional perks, caring for a child can give seniors a healthy dose of physical activity, too. But before you go chasing toddlers around, be mindful of your physical limitations. Says Dr. Cole: “I would encourage anyone considering taking on a role as a caregiver to talk to their doctor first, and build up to it, rather than going from zero to 100.”

Even if you don’t have grandkids nearby, you can get those same benefits by helping children in your community. “Families are fragmented in this culture of moving for jobs, especially here in Florida,” says Dr. Cole. “It can leave a void [for families] and an opportunity for older adults to step in and be a ‘substitute grandparent’ in their neighborhood for families that are geographically separated.”

7 COMMENTS

  1. Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, Orlando Sentinel page A25 Central Florida 100…..Ric Keller likes Trump’s blunt language ( “losers” “suicide mission” “totally destroy North Korea”) …..Keller states “that it shows that he’s (Trump) is personally involved in writing his own speeches, and he is talking over the heads of the UN elites and directly to the people”. OMG, this insight from a lawyer, and former GOP member of Congress! Yeah, he (Trump) apparently did write his own speech, I definitely believe that! No other person, with any common sense, would have written a speech like that to present to the UN. Talking over the heads of the UN elite??? Seriously? Thank God, Ric Keller is not a member of Congress now! SMH. Now look what Trump has done! Put us in more danger as Americans, plus other countries too! His own aides had warned him against insulting talk and bullying, but he did it anyway! Now he fighting with sports team about their rights to protest. All he does is pick fights with everybody, everywhere! He will go down in history as the worst president we have ever had! He loves war, remember, he told people that before hand, before the election! He needs impeached! Unfit for office!

  2. I know a lot of people don’t think that Kim Jong Un would actually fire a nuclear missile over here, or an hydrogen bomb, but I believe he will. That country is obsessed with missiles, and bombing, from the latest accounts I have read on the computer. It is like, that is all they study, and Kim sees it as defending his country and people, just like Trump thinks. This is not going to work out in a good way, I don’t see it is even possible for this situation to turn out positively. There are going to be thousands, if not millions of people killed on one, or both sides, and we also are going to have to be concerned about Iran, China, and Russia, if not other countries. No one seems to be taking this seriously. Instead they brag about Trump’s insulting talk about North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. I am so sorry this man, Trump, got elected, it goes way beyond partisan politics. I can only imagine where the countdown clock is at now. KIm also has a huge arsenal of deadly chemical weapons of mass destruction, this time for real. Imagine if a NK plane had of flew over the hurricane like the hurricane researchers do, and dropped the deadly chemicals down into the hurricane…..no, I am not writing a science fiction piece, or of his sending a direct missile with the chemicals on its warhead over here! Or a hydrogen or nuclear warhead over here!

  3. We have all of these different countries with nuclear capability. The US, Israel, Iran, France, China, Russia, and many more……..why do we, the US, have the right to demand that another country not have them? We have tested ours before, haven’t we? Look what we dropped on Japan, but for a very good reason. What we have tested out in the deserts of Nevada underground, Navy testing of different missiles in the oceans, and more probably, I mean, I just don’t understand how we, as a nation, can make a demand that another country not have arsenals to defend their selves. I am not being disloyal, as an American, but I do have to wonder. Kim calls Trump a madman, and Trump calls Kim the same. Is Trump jumping the gun, and escalating this situation, that will result in death and destruction for millions, with his mouth, and his actions, like sending in the big bomber plane, with the surrounding fighter jets over the DMZ , the further point north, more than any previous action of this century????? To me that is fueling a bad situation. Kim spends most of his country’s money on warfare, and arsenals, while his people go lacking. This is exactly what is going to happen in this country, that is what is next, people will go lacking in food, healthcare, supplies, and the our government will spend the large majority of funds on weapons and warfare. I don’t see very much difference in Trump and Kim Jong, except that Kim is probably more informed about the world, because Trump refuses to listen to true experts and thinks he is so smart.

  4. Trump makes me think of the local gentlemen who gather together at the breakfast houses, and who talk politics, local talk, hunting, fishing, women, sports, cars, and money- making, and laugh, and say the outrageous, the boastful, and the pure BS, and sit and laugh over their morning coffee. That is fun, that is what men do, but it is not funny, when it is the leader of our nation, speaking before the UN council, and he talks just like the gentlemen gathered at the local cafes for eggs and bacon in the mornings. I expect some common sense from our elected leader, the POTUS at least!

  5. James 1958, I saw some of your postings previously that I read, that you agree with me on some things, and one that you didn’t , something I sounded off about Trump, that is okay, you are entitled to your own beliefs that Trump is not a politician, and not afraid to speak his mind. I did notice on one of your postings, you said you were a former Navy man, so let me say to you, thank you for your service to our country, as I have said that to others here on the Apopka Voice. Take care, James…….

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