Karen Wright, B.S., M.A., Health and Wellness Educator
I came across an article today titled, "Babysitting May be Hazardous to Grandmother's Health." It tells about Harvard research that states that there is a 55% greater risk of heart disease among grandmothers who care for their grandchildren. This article was written 10 years ago, 2003. It would be interesting to know if researchers have continued research on this topic. If any of you know any newer statistics please let me know.
Grandmothers who babysit occassionally do not have increased health problems over those who do no caregiving. But grandmothers who babysit for grandchildren on a regular basis or full-time are at higher risks for heart disease. It was surmised that the greater health risks are caused by stress.
The demands of full-time child caring is hard on an aging body and often grandmothers do not get the medical care they need nor do they take care of themselves as well as grandmothers who are not caring full-time for children.
Those of you who are full-time caregivers know this already. You do not have to read research by Harvard researchers. But it can be validating to know that research tells us what we already know.
However, I believe we should take this as a warning and not an absolute. Taking care of ourselves is our responsibility whether or not we are raising grandchildren.
A grandmother in love with her grandchildren