Marla Ahlgrimm on the Connection Between Mental Acuity and Caretaking Among Senior Women

Marla AhlgrimmSpending a few hours each week caring for grandchildren may give women elders an extra boost both mentally and emotionally, reports pharmacist Marla Ahlgrimm. Here, the women’s health professional shares recent findings and explains why such quality family time may increase mental acuity among this population.

Q: What particular activities did the study entail and who were the subjects?

Marla Ahlgrimm: In total, 186 Australian women in their mid-50s to late-60s were studied. Each of the subjects took three tests that helped to determine their mental acuity.

Q: Were the final results a surprise to the researchers?

Marla Ahlgrimm: In many ways, yes. The women who spent one day each week taking care of their grandchildren scored the highest marks on two of the study’s three tests. It’s important to note that spending additional days with grandchildren would not necessarily improve mental acuity. In fact, women who spent at least five days each week with grandchildren found their mental processing speed and evaluated memory had diminished. This may be the result of greater demands and higher stress levels.

Q: How does this study compare with similar ones in the past?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Previous research had studied the link between social contact and mental sharpness among seniors; however, this is the first study to specifically examine the benefits and drawbacks of caretaking for grandchildren. Since grandmothering serves as an important social role for women in the postmenopausal stage of live, it’s critical for physicians and medical researchers to study its effects on their health.

Q: Where can older women learn further details about proper health and wellness measures?

Marla Ahlgrimm: For more advice, women can seek out articles at the U.S. Office on Women’s Health website. The site is a valuable resource chock full of information about how both women and men can improve their wellbeing.

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