Babysitting grandchildren may actually be good for your health

Babysitting Grandchildren Could Lower Risk for Alzheimer’s

by Alissa Sauer for

July 27, 2016

There’s nothing like grandchildren to keep older adults active and joyful. A recent study shows that spending a moderate amount of time with grandkids may actually prevent Alzheimer’s disease by increasing brain function and memory.

“In addition to boosting brain power, babysitting has been linked to decreased rates of depression. Learn more about the correlation between babysitting and senior health and get some ideas on fun things to do with your grandchildren.

How Babysitting Grandchildren Could Lower Risk for Alzheimer’s

Researchers from the Women’s Health Aging Project in Australia observed the cognitive function of over 180 women who cared for grandchildren. The results showed that postmenopausal women who spend one day a week caring for their grandchildren may have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s and other cognitive disorders. However, those that spend five days a week or more caring for little ones may have a higher risk of developing neurodegenerative disorders.

This is the first study to examine the role of grandparenting on cognition. While the reason for the correlation is not clear, it is thought that regular social interaction can have a positive effect on the mental health of seniors and lower their risk for Alzheimer’s. Caring for grandchildren can help to prevent the social isolation that can cause depression, and even an earlier death.

In addition to preventing Alzheimer’s and avoiding social isolation, other research suggests that a strong grandchild and grandparent bond has anti-depressive benefits for both seniors and children. A study from the Institute on Aging at Boston College observed the habits of 376 grandparents and 340 children for 19 years. They found that the closer the relationship between the two, the less likely either were to develop depression and that grandparents who both gave and received support had the fewest symptoms of depression.”

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Alissa Sauer has been dedicated to writing articles about Alzheimer’s research and senior living for over four years. With a Communications Degree from the University of Illinois, Alissa strives to help families understand and manage the changes that often accompany caring for a senior loved one.


Does the 4 percent rule in retirement still apply?

Image result for 4 percent rule images

Is the 4 percent rule still relevant for retirees?

By Rodney Brooks for The Washington Post

October 10, 2016

“If you read about retirement, you will probably be familiar with the 4 percent rule.

The rule was created in the mid-1990s by a now-retired financial planner to keep people from outliving their retirement nest eggs. Here’s how it works: If you have a nest egg of $1 million, you should draw down no more than 4 percent, or $40,000 a year.

So here’s the question. Should you still be adhering to a rule created more than 20 years ago when the economy and interest rates were so different?

Well, it depends. Many planners still use it as a rule of thumb, but if anything, many recommend that you withdraw less — more like 2 or 3 percent. The reason is longevity. We are living longer. In fact, you can now live in retirement longer than you did in your career.”

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Peggy Whitson’s age and experience graces the “magic of space” again

Rocket Woman Peggy Whitson Breaks Records | AARP
Published on Nov 16, 2016

“At age 56, NASA Astronaut Peggy Whitson has spent more time in space than any woman in NASA history. Her career has a long list of accomplishments, but she’s about to add one more. On November 17, she’ll become the first woman to command the International Space Station twice! Follow her journey aboard the International Space Station here:

Want to know more like I did then read on and watch the following video?  Turns out Peggy and I both grew up in rural Iowa, we are close to the same age and we both love gardening!  Who knew?

Astronaut Peggy Whitson:  From Chicken Entrepreneur to Space Station Commander Video

By Steve Spaleta |

“The NASA astronaut has lived the American Dream, starting back when she was selling chickens to make enough money to pay for a pilot’s license. Now she is set to launch to the International Space Station for her 3rd tour of duty. Whitson explains five things you didn’t know about her in this video from NASA Johnson Space Center.”

Click on Peggy’s picture here to view the video:
Peggy Whitson,
Peggy Whitson,

credit : NASA Johnson Space Center

I work part-time in retirement. Do you?

Seven of 10 Americans plan to work in retirement

by Rodney Brooks for The Washington Post

September 2016

“When it comes to retirement, a whopping 75 percent of Americans say they plan to work ‘as long as possible’ in retirement, according to a new report from  And for many of them, it’s not because they love their jobs:

  • 38 percent say they are planning to work because they want to
  • 35% percent say they plan to work because they need the money
  • 27 percent said they plan to work because they need the money and want to work

And according to the survey, 47 percent of retirees are either very worrried or somwhat worried about outliving their retirement savings.  That’s up from 37 percent the last time that question was asked, in 2009.

What’s almost shocking?  Only 25 percent said they had no plans to work during retirement.

A reality check for most people planning to work through retirement: Most surveys show that even though a majority of Americans plan to keep working, most find they cannot because of health issues, layoffs or because they have to care for spouses or parents.”


“Rodney A. Brooks writes about retirement and personal finance for The Washington Post. Rodney has had a long and distinguished career in financial journalism. He previously worked at USA Today from 1985 until his recent retirement.”

I love my grandchildren but do I spoil them too much?

I am blessed with three wonderful grandchildren.  Being a grandmother is the best role in the world, but it sometimes can be a balancing act when it comes to spoiling grandchildren.  The following article from Healthy Living Made Simple speaks to that balance:

Offering Sweet Without the SourMagazine November/December 2016

Establishing boundaries for spoiling grandchildren

by Dr. David Elkind

“The adage, ‘The more things change the more they remain the same,’ is as true for grandparenting as it is for so many facets of family life.  Despite societal changes and advances in healthcare and technology that are allowing grandparents to take a more active role in the lives of their grandchildren, some facets remain the same.  A prime example is the tendency for grandparents to spoil their grandchildren.

There are a variety of ways to spoil.  Perhaps the most common is for grandparents to be a bit more lenient with their grandchildren than parents are.  While this is usually harmless, a more risky form of spoiling is to give grandchildren more toys, more clothes or more devices than they may need or want.  This tendency is understandable, but can stem from a number of different underlying motives, acting alone or in concert.”

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David Elkind, Ph.D., is professor emeritus of Child Development at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts.

The free fitness app Map My Walk motivates me to walk more


I used to wear a Fitbit clipped to my waistband every day to track my steps, but lately I use the free app Map My Walk on my phone to track my longer walks.  I love it.  It tracks my steps, calories burned, pace, elevation, duration of walk, and charts my walk on a map.  Workouts can be saved or posted on Facebook.  I am sure my friends like to see me hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park while they are at work!  It definitely motivates me to walk more.


Do Fitness Trackers Really Improve Your Health?

The devices aren’t terribly accurate, but that may be beside the point: getting you out and about

by Kaitlin Pitsker from Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

October, 2016

“Millions of Americans now wear fitness bands on their wrists to count their steps daily. Some employers are using fitness trackers to set goals—and rewards—for employees. Health and life insurers are offering premium discounts for wearing one. School systems are even using them to enable self-directed physical education programs.

How accurate are they? Fitness bands contain an accelerometer, which tracks movement in every direction to calculate the number of steps you’ve taken. But studies show that over the course of a day, many trackers have error rates of 10% to 20%. Tufts University’s Health & Nutrition Letter suggests you verify that your stride-length setting is correct by going to a track with the exact distance marked and counting your steps as you walk it. If you walk, say, 100 feet in 40 steps, divide 100 by 40. You have a stride length of about 2.5 feet.

fitness trackers

Most fitness bands are on track when it comes to counting steps when you’re walking, running or climbing stairs—usually coming within 1% to 4% of your actual step count, says Alex Montoye, an assistant professor at Alma College who studies wearables. The devices are also good at not awarding credit for stationary activities with a lot of wrist movement, such as typing or shuffling papers.”  Read more

Those who wore fitness trackers significantly increased the time they spent doing moderate to vigorous activity.

November is National Family Caregivers Month

Take care to give care.Home

That is the theme of the National Family Caregivers Month for November, 2016.  The following post is from

“The first rule of taking care of others: take care of yourself first. Caregiving can be a rewarding experience, but it is also physically and emotionally demanding. The stress of dealing with caregiving responsibilities leads to a higher risk of health issues among the Nation’s 90 million family caregivers. So as a family caregiver, remember to pay attention to your own physical and mental wellness, and get proper rest and nutrition. Only by taking care of yourself can you be strong enough to take care of your loved one. You really do need to ‘take care to give care!’

  • Caregiving can be a stressful job. Most family caregivers say they feel stressed providing care for a loved one. With all of their caregiving responsibilities – from managing medications to arranging doctor appointments to planning meals – caregivers too often put themselves last.
  • The stress of caregiving impacts your own health. One out of five caregivers admit they have sacrificed their own physical health while caring for a loved one. Due to stress, family caregivers have a disproportionate number of health and emotional problems. They are twice as likely to suffer depression and are at increased risk for many other chronic conditions.
  • Proper nutrition helps promote good health. Ensuring that you are getting proper nutrition is key to help maintain your strength, energy and stamina, as well as strengthening your immune system. Maintaining a healthy diet is one of the most powerful things you can do to take care of yourself and keep a positive attitude overall.
  • Ensuring good nutrition for your loved one helps make care easier. As many as half of all older adults are at risk for malnutrition. Good nutrition can help maintain muscle health, support recovery, and reduce risk for re-hospitalization – which may help make your care of a loved one easier.
  • Remember: ‘Rest. Recharge. Respite.’ People think of respite as a luxury, but considering caregivers’ higher risk for health issues from chronic stress, those risks can be a lot costlier than some time away to recharge. The chance to take a breather, the opportunity to re-energize, is vital in order for you to be as good a caregiver tomorrow as you were today.”

Read moreNovember is National Family Caregivers Month

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