Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Those grandkids may be lengthening your life

Actually, there are two schools of thought on that, in my opinion. Mixing of the age groups stimulates both--and the screeching and spinning in place makes you yearn for death.

However, we have an assistant prof at Saint Louis University, Angela Sanford, MD, a geriatrican (old people's doc), who says no one can be unhappy around little kids. She has three under 3 herself.

She also thinks the little ones adore and look up to their grandparents, which is good for the older folks' self-esteem. Older people, she says, can make the tots into better people.

I don't mean to be totally cynical--I have no grandkids and often wistfully wish I did. I like little kids. But my sister, who has little grandkids, can barely stand it.

Sanford says boomers are enthusiastic grandparents, as enthusiastic as they would greet a Led Zeppelin concert (best not to try those metaphors).

The pluses of grandparenting:

--Play, exercise. Tag, pushing a swing, walking around the zoo.

--Cooking. You eat more healthy things if you cook. Sanford says. Chopping, stirring and lifting heavy pots helps arthritis. Sharing family recipes with kids also strengthens bonds.

--Playing games and doing puzzles. Cards, chess, I spy with my little eye--help older people.

--Being busy busy. Kids like variety--grandparents must think up different things to do.

--Napping. OK, now you're on to something. Nap when the kids do.

--Kids also help older people stay flexible--maybe the kids' mother wants them to do something besides what you planned--Sanford says this will help you be more flexible in dealing with change.

--Prayer. If you are so inclined, you can pray with kids.

Being a grandparent turns your focus outward, she says. No time for a pity party.

So that is what older people do all day--have a pity party?

Dunno about this--maybe she has some good points. But others seem to be really reaching for a positive.

I would say hang with the kids because they are funny and you get to eat the cookies you bake. When their parents come home, say bye and have a drink.

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