Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Delaying the Arrival of Alzheimer’s and Dementia

Today I feel better about my relentless move through the ages.

My 20s passed quickly, engrossed with college and grad school, getting married, having two children. Then it was on to the 30s, busy years raising kids, relocating twice, grad school (again), working…and before I knew it I turned 40. Kids, work, vacations, volunteer activities, graduations, family events all clustered in the 1990s, my 40s decade.

Y2K came and went and my world, along with the rest of the world, survived the computer meltdown bust. I entered the new century as a quinquagenarian, a long, sophisticated, unpronounceable word meaning a person 50 years old, or between the ages of 50 and 60.

My boys married and began having babies, and hub and I became grandparents. Downsizing, family events, work filled the days and the years zoomed by. 

Suddenly I turned 60. I became a sexagenarian, a much cooler sounding word than quinquagenarian. Another relocation, retirement, more grandkids, travel, family, old friends and new, volunteer activities, writing, now consume my time and the days pass quickly.

I keep an electronic file of articles for future reading. The file grows and some pieces will never be read, but one item caught my eye this morning as I scanned the list when relegating another story to the must-read pile.

It was very short but made my day.

The article summarized a scientific study that concluded grandparents who babysit their grandkids delay the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s. The study was done in Australia, but I bet grandparents around the world, including American grands, would duplicate the results. Including hub and me.

The study made clear being a full-time babysitter, five days a week, does not bode well for grands. But babysitting one or two days a week is ideal. The conclusion reached is grandkids are good for the older generation – in moderation.

Hub and I do not grandsit every week. The kids live too far away. But we do it regularly enough, I believe, to put ourselves on the side of grands deferring at least two of the evils of aging.

And that is why I feel better today about my aging progression than I did yesterday…
My 91-year-old Mom with her 5-year-old great granddaughter.
She is a perfect example of how grand sitting puts cognitive impairment on hold.















Hub and I returned from our latest grandsitting and visitation adventure tired, a little sore from sitting in the car for hours, and a bit rounder from too much pizza and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream cake.

The instructor explaining to four and five-year-olds the
intricacies of the game of Capture the Flag at our
granddaughter's birthday party.
Here is a peek in pictures from five days with three grandkids and two pooped parents. 
An afternoon blueberry picking
Visiting the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory
An afternoon at the trampoline gym.

22 comments:

  1. Babysitting occasionally delays Alzheimer's, huh? Sounds good to me. We don't babysit on a regular basis - meaning every day or even twice a week, but do do it occasionally so our kids can get some alone time... and we get some time with the grands. Personally I think it's good for everyone, but don't see how it delays Alzheimer's...

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    1. Babysitting grands keeps us on our toes, and as we recover following the exhausting experience it is nice to think there are mental benefits to the activity!

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  2. We'll be watching the three grandboys in a week and I'm looking forward to it with anticipation and a tad of trepidation.

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  3. I wish I had grandchildren to help stave off dementia, but I don't. I guess I'll just have to settle for friends who act like kids! :-)

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  4. So bringing preschoolers to nursing homes -- or, in at least one case, housing both in the same building -- has long-range positive effects, I bet! Probably Harvey's volunteer work at Schreiber Pediatric and Lancaster Day Care, too, huh?

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    1. Absolutely! You guys are scheduled to hit the dementia wall at around age 193, give or take a year or so.

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  5. That is an interesting study. Like Djan, I'll have to borrow my friend's grands. My sister does it full time and that can take a lot out of a person.

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    1. Full time grand sitting is too much for us older folks. We need our downtime to retool, relax and enjoy a cup of coffee (or maybe a glass of wine!).

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  6. For the first time, I have been babysitting one of the grand girls all week. It has been hard, mostly getting used to someone talking to you 24/7, but I feel like it has built up both my mental and physical stamina. Not sure I'm volunteering next summer. I'll see how I feel when it rolls around again.

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    1. 24/7 is too much for us. I know how it feels to be around a constant talker - one of my granddaughters does not stop talking from the moment her eyes open in the morning until she quits mid-sentence at night. It is exhausting even if you are doing nothing but listening!

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  7. Interesting study. I Enjoy my young grandson but can not keep up as i once did with his Dad when he was young. I strongly believe association with all age groups as we get older is especially mentally stimulating -- that's what the brain needs for that cognitive function to maybe ward off dementias, even alzheimers.

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    1. You are right about associating with all age groups. Keeps us moving and thinking.

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  8. Another study suggested that former occupations also played a role in the onset of senility. I am fortunate becaause I worked with numbers in one form or another my entire career. Numbers people are high on the list for the staying mentallyyounger. I like to think computers help.

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    1. So true - it is like the adage says - use it or lose it. Unfortunately we did not realize that - or think about it - or care - when younger.

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  9. so many studies. so little time. like you, i don't live near my grandkid. I have to rely on crossword puzzles to ward off the big bad A. not nearly as much fun as babysitting grands and showing them the fun of working on a crossword.

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    1. But with crosswords you can sit and relax with a cup of coffee or glass or wine while working!

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  10. Meryl, this made my day too! I think that take care of grandchildren just makes us so tired we don't have time to get Alz. or anything else. I love it so much! http://www.retireinstyleblog.com/2016/07/writing-colonel-sanders-check.html

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    1. I don't normally post a link but my post on was about just the subject. Sadly, the time comes when they don't want to come anymore. Our relationship changes but remains strong because to the we spend with them when they are younger.

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    2. I dread the time they do not want to visit anymore, or when I visit spend much time with me. It is a small window of opportunity to enjoy them when they love being with us.

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  11. I'll bet it's exposure to all those kid germs keeping the immune system on its toes. Texas Grandma

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