Aging is the most natural and real thing that every person goes through in their life. As people grow old, their physical, as well as mental abilities tend to decline with time. Even though this process is natural, its severity and rapidity differ from person to person. For some, aging is a great experience, one in which they age with grace and retain their abilities like hearing, sight, and thinking till the end.
For others, it's not so great. They require family support as well as caretakers to help them through the difficult challenges that come along with old age.
Spending Time With Grandkids
Recent research has revealed that it can be healthy for older people to look after their grandchildren regularly as it may prevent loneliness as well as improve one's overall well-being. Whether that is picking them up from school or taking them to the park, it can have a positive impact on an elderly’s mental health.
A study was conducted that reviewed previous studies that involved 21 countries and over 200,000 participants. It showed results saying that old people's mental health can be impacted positively if they spend time looking after their grandkids. It suggested that it also helps them to feel less isolated and more fulfilled and content.
Comparatively, the people who had the responsibility of taking care of their spouses with diseases or illnesses were connected to the feeling of loneliness. A Ph.D. student at King’s College by the name of Samia Akhtar-Khan talked about seeing clear and consistent signs that grandparenting or caregiving to non-blood related children has a positive effect on the people while caregiving to spouses has a negative impact on people's mental health.
Unpaid Care and Loneliness
28 previous studies were also reviewed by the team. These studies were associated with 191,652 people that spanned over 21 countries, and they explored the link between unpaid care and loneliness. One of the studies revealed that adults that were above the age of 60 who hung out with their grandchildren for at least 12 hours each week were proven to be 60% less likely to feel isolated as compared to non-caregivers.
Samia Akhtar-khan also said that when people think of elderly people, more often than not, they consider them as care receivers, and they imagine them as an expense to society in terms of money for health problems and pension.
However, what people don't realize is that older people can be amazing contributors when it comes to caregiving and volunteering. They hold great value in our society.