Page 31 - Scene Magazine 45-09 September 2020
P. 31

     rFor Better Health
 shows a link between caring and a longer life it does not prove an actual cause- and-effect relationship. In addition, it is noted that any benefit of caregiving likely has limits. “Helping shouldn’t be misun- derstood as a panacea for a longer life,” Hertwig said in a statement.
I have witnessed, however, the joy that comes out when grandparents talk about their experiences with their grandchildren. And there is a clear relationship with happiness and an increased life span. Frankly, there is nothing like the laughter and smiles of children to make even the crankiest of faces crack into a smile.
The things grandchildren say and
do become a part of what continually brings joy to a grandparent. When asking publisher, Rick DeRuiter, about his grand- daughter it’s hard to keep a smile from his face. Among his favorite experiences are the ways she communicates with him. As an example, when she hands him something she will also say, “Thank you Chazzy.” When she greets him it’s, “Hi Gumpa,” with a beaming smile that is like no other. It’s fun to watch him talk about their time together. The joy is real and unmistakable.
In addition to the joy caregiving can give to the mature adult there seems
to be a logical connection to creating a feeling of usefulness for others from the
children to the parents. And who doesn’t want a sense of purpose?
Just as important, at least in my expe- rience, time with my grandchildren is full of activity both physically and mentally. Miles for Memories has been sharing for years that there is significant value to movement in reducing risk for dementia as well. Additional studies support that caregiving may improve cognitive functioning, along with mental and physical health.
Each visit is packed full of movement that ranges from small to large, from slow and intentional to silly running around the yard. It is all movement and it all counts toward getting our cardiovascular system moving oxygen throughout the body. Our time together also impacts their mental and physical health. It’s a win-win.
And while this relationship is benefi- cial to the grands in both directions lets not forget about the value to the parents as well. The time that the grandchildren spend with the grandparents allows the parents to recharge their battery. Lets face it, parents are on the clock 24/7 and they need a break too. The more time grand- parents spend with the grandchildren the more time that parents have to do some- thing that is important for their personal heath, spend time with a spouse, or just get uninterrupted work done. Please be considerate, however, and make sure that
you know what rules parents want their children to abide by in specific situations and what practices are important. That doesn’t limit you by any means because you can add plenty more or change things up a bit based on where you live. I’m really referring to the important rules like car seats and safety belts, hand washing, face masks, word choices, food allergies, TV, and electronics time. Other things like play are all up to you.
Grandparents, you are a blessing to grandchildren. You are a blessing to your own children. And time spent in caregiv- ing is benefiting your health as well. As for me and my house, it’s a win-win-win.
Editor’s note: Mature adults that do not have grandchildren can still work towards better physical and mental health. Other regular activities such as walking with friends, joining social clubs, volunteering, working, and so much more can impact overall health. A fun event that you might enjoy is the Miles for Memories Marathon and Scavenger Hunt. You are invited to walk every day through October 26 with the goal of collectively reaching 26 miles. Walking a little every day will help you to complete your first mara- thon but also to develop a new habit of movement that can decrease your risk for dementia in the future. Visit milesformem- for more details.

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