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Why visiting Grandma is good for your health

Having a good give-and-take relationship with your grandparents is the secret to a happier life, according to a new study.

Adult granddaughter visiting with grandmother

You’re never too old to benefit from your relationship with your grandparents.

And no, that’s not because they fill your stomach (and your wallet) every time you stop over. A new study by researchers at Boston College found that both grandparents and their adult grandchildren were less likely to experience depression if they felt “emotionally close” to each other.

“Extended family members, such as grandparents and grandchildren, serve important functions in one another’s daily lives throughout adulthood,” study researcher Sara Moorman, professor of sociology at Boston College, told LiveScience.

In the study, researchers tracked the mental health of 376 grandparents and 340 grandchildren from 1985 to 2004. Participants filled out surveys every few years answering questions about how often they helped the other generation with chores like housework or doctor’s visits and how well they got along. They also reported how often they felt depressed.

The biggest takeaway from the survey: Grandparents who have a reciprocal relationship with their grandchildren — meaning they were able to help and receive help — had healthier lives and fewer depressive symptoms than those grandparents who just received help from their grandchildren.

“Grandparents expect to be able to help their grandchildren, even when their grandchildren are grown,” Moorman added.

So, don’t feel bad the next time your grandpa stuffs a $100 bill in your pocket when you help him mow the lawn. You’re just doing your part to help him live a happier life!

More on mental health

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Simple ways to clear your mental clutter
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