By Karen Best Wright, B.S., M.A., CHES
Holistic Health & Wellness Educator
The other day someone from a university called me about my experience getting my master's degree. As we talked and got on the subject of grandparents raising grandchildren (somehow I always get talking about that subject), he mentioned that his mother is raising his nephew. He asked me what I thought about the idea that raising a grandchild makes a grandparent healthier. I literally laughed at the idea. "You've got to be kidding me." He wasn't. He was serious. While some grandparents have told me that raising their grandchildren keeps them young, the vast majority of them do not.
Raising toddlers in your 50's and 60's (or trying teenagers) is usually exhausting and grandparents have a tendency to take care of the grandchild's needs while neglecting their own. Granted, that is not all grandparents. Some do a marvelous job of taking care of themselves (eating right, exercising, getting support for themselves, etc.). Perhaps the grandparents who feel that raising their grandchildren actually benefits their health are simply not the ones who contact me.
My personal mission is to encourage and help grandparents who are raising their grandchildren make their own physical health and wellness a priority. I have known of numerous grandparents who did not take of themselves and ended up with such poor health that they had to give up custody, or worse, they died before the grandchildren were grown.
If you are one of the lucky ones who feel that raising children in your 60's keeps you feeling young, that is wonderful. If not, learning ways to make your health a priority is essential. With the New Year upon us, setting some health and wellness goals for ourselves is a really good thing to do. Even though I am not raising my grandchildren anymore, I always have wellness goals to keep me pointed in the right direction. Feel free to send me a personal email or visit my wellness website at www.TheWellnessWay.org and contact me that way, if you would like. Good luck and keep your health a priority.