How Kids and Seniors Can Keep Each Other Healthy
| 3 min read
Dr. Hobbs, MD, is a senior medical director in Utilization Management at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and works with a team of physicians to evaluate medical cases. He graduated from the University of Michigan Medical School and is a former faculty member at both the Medical School and the College of Literature, Science and the Arts. His specialties are internal medicine, geriatric medicine and palliative medicine. Dr. Hobbs spent the majority of his career in patient care, teaching and academic medicine as well as research. He has three adult children and a granddaughter. His non-medical interests include competitive chess, classical music, playing the piano, learning Spanish, cooking, drawing and painting, traveling, writing, restoring an old home from 1914 and the martial arts. He has a fourth-degree black belt in Hakko Denshin Ryu Jiu Jitsu and is studying Kung Fu (Wing Chun) as well.
- Encourages Physical Activity: When caring for a child, seniors are more likely to be physically active and participate in leisure activities. This can lead to better blood pressure management, weight loss, a lower body mass index (BMI), as well as increased strength and flexibility. These interactions also promote socialization, which helps to reduce children’s screen time, making them more aware of their surroundings.
- Improves Mental Health: Having a strong grandparent-grandchild relationship significantly decreases the risk of depression in both parties. The exchange of ideas, beliefs and life lessons also boost mood and improve self-esteem.
- Extends Life Expectancy: One study found that older adults who provided occasional childcare lived significantly longer than those who didn’t. In fact, research shows that limited familial or societal contact and isolation directly impacts mortality and is linked to multiple chronic health conditions.
- Provides Emotional Support: Research shows that a child who has a close relationship with a grandparent is less likely to have behavioral or emotional problems. The grandparent acts as a built-in support system that provides love, guidance, knowledge, experience and additional structure.
- Sets a Positive Example: Grandparents are some of the earliest role models a child can have. Their actions can influence children’s behavior, as well as their likes and dislikes. By embracing a healthier lifestyle, grandparents set a positive example for their little ones to follow.
- Teaches Practical Skills: Today’s children have been exposed to computers, tablets and smartphones at a much earlier age than their predecessors. While it’s great to be technology savvy, there are many hands-on activities such as sewing, cooking and camping that are better explored through direct sharing.
Healthy Activities for All Ages
- Board games
- Playing an instrument
- The Importance of Intergenerational Relationships
- How to Stay Social as a Senior
- Addressing Senior Health Disparities