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Grandparents Who Babysit Are Less Likely To Get Alzheimer's And Dementia

The Working Carers Gateway

Currently, more than 10 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's or dementia, and that number is expected to rise in the coming decades.

But some researchers think that the secret to combating this disease may be your grandkids.

So can watching a child for a day really help keep dementia and Alzheimer's away?

That's what a study published in the journal of North American Menopause Society believes after they found that grandmothers who babysat a couple times in a week had higher cognitive test scores than those who had no babysitting duties.

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Laying Down The Facts

As someone who has two grandchildren, I can definitely attest to this study, even though I didn't participate in it.

My daughter leaves her four-year-old girl and nine-year-old boy at my house once or twice a week and we're always doing activities that exercise the brain.

I'm not the type to sit down and solve crossword puzzles, but I'll play games with my grandkids.

In fact, these simple games can increase brain function and memory without you even knowing it.

According to Dr. Diana Kerwin, who is the chief of geriatrics at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas and founder of Texas Alzheimer's and Memory Disorders, the best thing you can do to keep your brain sharp is to maintain social interaction.

"If you think about when you do take care of a child, you tend to become more of a teacher. You’re teaching them new experiences, maybe taking them to the zoo or working on vocabulary with them ... it's stimulating for the babysitter’s brain as well," she told USA Today.

So even if you're not playing games with your grandchildren, simply being around them will keep you healthy.

Moderation Is Key

However, in that same study, they found that grandparents who babysat five or more days per week scored lower on the same cognitive tests.

No surprise, it's all about balance.

If you're constantly babysitting, it may result in more stress, leading to cognitive problems.

Activities You Can Do With Your Grandchildren

You're not going to discover a lot of common interests with your young grandkids, but there are a few games that you can play together that's fun for them and great for you!

Check out these 10 activities that will have you spending quality time with your precious ones.

1. Coloring or drawing

2. Flash memory card game

3. Role playing or playing dress up

4. Visiting an animal sanctuary or sightseeing

5. Writing letters to each other

6. Reading

7. Gardening

8. Cooking or baking

9. Create a family tree

10. Play charades

How often do you babysit your grandchildren?

Here are three more things doctors recommend to prevent getting dementia and Alzheimer's.

And here are a few foods that could lower you chance of getting dementia.

Moojan has been a writer at Shared for a year. When she's not on the lookout for viral content, she's looking at cute animal photos. Reach her at moojan@shared.com.