Grandchildren can save grandparents from loneliness and social isolation

Experts from the University clinic of Hamburg-Eppendorf (Germany) surveyed 3,849 elderly people and found that grandparents who take care of their grandchildren, suffer less from loneliness, because it expands their social circle, increases self-esteem and allows them to feel younger. The study is published in the BMJ Open.

Scientists found out how large is the circle of communication of older people, how they feel lonely, and also determined the degree of their social isolation. Participants had to agree or disagree with several statements, such as "I often feel rejected", "I feel deprived" and others, rating them on a four-point scale.

It turned out that among grandparents caring for their grandchildren, the average rate of loneliness was 1.7, and social isolation — 1.6. Among older people who did not care for grandchildren, the loneliness rate was higher - 1.8. As for social isolation, the result was the same — 1.6.

The authors of the study noted that although the difference was small, there are still signs that communication with grandchildren has a positive impact. This increases the self-esteem of the elderly, expands their circle of communication and generally helps them feel younger.

Dec. 19, 2019, 11:08 a.m.

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