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Category Archives: Summer

Babysitting the Grandkids This Summer?

Working parents scramble to find childcare once school is out. Maybe you are babysitting your grandchildren during summer vacation. Maybe they’ve come for an extended visit? Or maybe it’s business as usual if your grandkids are part of the 25% whose grandparents provide childcare all year long?

Studies show caring for grandkids provides many healthy aging benefits. Intergenerational contact is a real self-esteem boost, and helps seniors feel connected to the community at large. “My grandkids keep me young,” say many grandmas and grandpas. And studies show that grandparents and grandchildren have a beneficial effect on each other’s emotional health, as well.

On the other hand, entertaining the little ones for hours can wear us out—yet, ironically, we might not be getting as much exercise as we should, or the right kind. So, instead of sitting on the couch with the kids binge watching Paw Patrol, add a little more activity to your life and help build the activity habit in the younger family members.

It’s important to limit exercise to activities that are safe for your own health and mobility, but if you’re able, check out these suggestions from the National Institute on Aging for age-appropriate activities for grandparents and kids of every age.

Infants and Toddlers

  • Take them for walks in the stroller and rides on your bike. Don’t forget your helmets.
  • Play games that get your bodies moving—Wheels on the Bus, Pretend We’re Animals, or Hide and Seek.
  • Sign up for baby yoga or exercise classes.
  • Try baby-friendly swimming classes.

School-Aged Children

  • Walk to the park and push their swing.
  • Jump rope together.
  • Build a fort—indoors or out.
  • Play catch, kickball, basketball, or soccer.
  • Go swimming or biking together.
  • Play a video fitness game together and see who wins!

Teens and Young Adults

  • Participate in activities that interest them. Try hiking, skating or tennis.
  • Go golfing or swimming. Invite them to join you in physical activities that require two people, such as tennis or ping pong.
  • Ask them to help you in the garden or with heavy-duty household chores.

And one more thing: be sure to practice good body mechanics when lifting those bundles of joy. Improper lifting can leave you with lower back pain that will bench you from some of those fun activities.

Note: This article is focused on grandparents who provide part-time care for their grandchildren. Today, more grandparents are caring for grandchildren full-time, when parents are deployed with the military, dealing with substance abuse, or otherwise unable to care for their children. If this describes you or someone you know, it’s important to know that resources are available for these custodial grandparents. The AARP offers information and resources for grandfamilies.

Source: IlluminAge AgeWise reporting on a tip sheet from the National Institute on Aging. Find lots more great senior exercise info in the NIA’s Go4Life website!

Here Comes the Sun! Are You Ready for It?

The American Cancer Society designated the Friday before Memorial Day as “Don’t Fry Day.” This clever title serves as a reminder that sunburn season is officially here. It’s time to think about protecting our skin from the harmful rays that raise our risk of skin cancer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports… Continue Reading

What Does a Podiatrist Say About Flip-Flops?

A casual summer staple, flip-flops are popular with men, women and kids – especially for outside activities. But before slipping on these warm weather favorites, be sure you know the appropriate way to wear this type of shoe, advises Dr. Edward Szabo, a podiatrist at Georgia Regents University. Dr. Szabo recommends the following guidelines to… Continue Reading

Warm Weather Tips for Managing Your Diabetes

If you or a loved one is living with diabetes, you know that taking care of yourself and following the doctor’s advice are year-round tasks. But according to experts, summertime can offer some extra challenges. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tells us that people with diabetes can be more affected by summer… Continue Reading