Research shows Grandparents who babysit a grandchild live longer!

According to a growing body of research, grandparents who babysit their grandchildren may live longer. In fact, a 2017 peer-reviewed study found that caregiving grandparents had a 37% lower risk of death compared to non-caregiving grandparents.

Berlin Aging Study (BASE)

The study, conducted by researchers from Edith Cowan University, analyzed data from the Berlin Aging Study (BASE) which tracked the health and social conditions of over 500 participants in Berlin between 1990 and 2009. Respondents were asked to describe the frequency with which they cared for a grandchild without the parents’ presence.

It’s worth noting that the study focused on grandparents who provided periodic babysitting, not primary caregiving for their grandchildren. Primary caregivers were excluded from the sample as the physical and emotional challenges of stepping into the role of primary caregiver for a grandchild are distinct.

Health benefits

The research also attempted to determine whether grandparents were healthier due to babysitting or if they were babysitting because they were already healthier and able to do so. The team found that health only accounted for 22% of the association between helping and longevity. A direct effect of babysitting on longevity still existed in the data, so further research is needed to understand the link between babysitting and living longer.

While past studies have attempted to link grandparental caregiving with increased cognitive function, the research shows a specific improvement in physical health but not in emotional or mental health. There is evidence to suggest that babysitting a grandchild can provide important physical and emotional stimulation that can have long-term health benefits.


Although more research is needed to prove a direct relationship between caregiving and longer life, enough evidence exists to confidently propose a weekly babysitting routine as a health-enhancer for grandparents.

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