A trip to grandma’s

By John Pastor • Published: October 15th, 2013
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

No matter what they are called … grandma, granny, grandpa, or gramps … if you are an adult with a good relationship with a grandparent, you are probably reaping some great emotional gifts.

And vice versa.

Grandparents are happier when they have older grandchildren in their lives. At least that’s what researchers at the Institute on Aging at Boston College think.

Evidence shows grandparents and grandchildren enhance each other’s psychological well-being, long into a grandchild’s adulthood.

The researchers found fewer symptoms of depression in both generations.

What’s more, they may have added proof to the adage that it is better to give than to receive, at least from a psychological standpoint.

The researchers looked at 376 grandparents and 340 grandchildren. The data was pulled from the Longitudinal Study of Generations, a survey of U.S. families that collected information seven times between 1985 and 2004.

The average grandparent was 77 years old and the average grandchild was 31 years old.

Whether it involved offering a ride to the store, a hand with the dishes, advice to the lovelorn, or a dollar or two, grandparents who helped their grandchildren were better adjusted than grandparents who simply received help.

Researchers say grandparents may expect to support their grandchildren, and when they can’t, they become frustrated and depressed … especially if they are dependent on receiving help themselves.

That’s something for the younger generation to think about when they’re reluctant to impose on a grandparent for a favor.

Allowing grandma or grandpa to help actually boosts the esteem of the older generation.

What a concept … receiving is giving … talk about the best of both worlds.