Research shows children benefit from living near their grandparents

Virgin Radio

24 May 2023, 12:30

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When it comes to childcare, grandparents can be invaluable, but new research has proven that living close to grandparents has even more benefits than first thought.

A new study has found that it benefits the grandparents as well as the little ones.

The research found that grandparents who live close to their grandchildren and see or look after them regularly have a higher life expectancy.

The study was carried out by the University of Basel in Switzerland.

Researchers interviewed 500 grandparents between 1990 and 1993.

Lead author of the research was Dr Sonja Hildbrand.

They found that half of the grandparents who cared for their grandchildren lived for about ten years after the first interview.

On the other hand, half of the grandparents who did not look after them regularly had died within five years.

She said: "I think pro-social behaviour is more important than ever. It’s already known that being socially engaged and having contact with others might have positive effects on health, and our study suggests this has an impact on longevity."

Research also found that depression is generally reduced in both groups by spending time together.

It's not just for young grandchildren either.

The Gerontologist published a survey that found a close relationship between grandparents and adult grandchildren, led to an overall happier life for both.

The additional study in Belgium showed that children looked after by their grandparents show fewer signs of prejudice and discrimination against older people.

The survey examined 1,151 kids aged between 7 and 16.

It showed 10 to 12 year olds who saw their grandparents at least once a week were the most favourable towards the elderly.

Co-author Stephane Adam noted: "Our findings point to the potential of grandparents to be part of intergenerational programs designed to prevent ageism."