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Grandparents who provide over 60 hours of care per month experience significantly more depressive symptoms than those who give less time, according to researchers at Trinity College.
The study included 7,500 participants and found that parents are increasingly depending on grandparents for support as childcare costs rise. Around 60 percent of grandparents look after their grandchildren during some point in the month, according to the study. Almost one in five look after their grandchildren more than 60 hours per month.
“This increase in depressive symptoms was seen in lower educational attainment groups,” Christine McGarrigle, a research fellow, noted.
Grandparents with third-level education were less likely to spend more than 60 hours per month caring for their grandchildren as well. McGarrigle noted that the study proves all grandparents are not alike and that their interest in providing care for their grandchildren is also different.
Interestingly, a grandparent’s happiness also depended on how much time they expected to take caring for their grandchildren.
"Many older people get great fulfillment from looking after their grandchildren, building relationships with them and supporting their adult children,” Justin Moran, head of advocacy for charity group Age Action, said. “But they need to be able to say no.”
Moran added that as grandparents get older, they should recognize that their health deteriorates and they are not often as able to look after young children.
“They may need to reduce the amount of childcare they provide or stop altogether,” Moran said.
This is the second of three waves of research planned in tracking the health, social and economic circumstances of older people in the UK. A third wave is planned for 2016.
Source: The Independent
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