The Effect of Grandchild Care on Older People’s Cognitive Functioning: Does It Matter What Grandparents and Grandchildren Do Together?

Valeria Bordone, University of Vienna
Bruno Arpino, University of Florence
Giorgio Di Gessa , University College London

We investigate the association between grandchild care and grandparents’ cognitive functioning. In doing this, we consider, for the first time to our knowledge, the various activities that grandparents and grandchildren do in the time spent together. We use data from the most recent wave of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) who includes information on the activities done by grandparents and grandchildren together. In line with previous evidence, we find a positive effect of grandchild care on cognitive functioning. The effect is stronger if grandparents help grandchildren doing their homework or if grandparents are engaged in leisure activities. This study allows us to shed some light on the mechanisms behind the link between grandchild care and cognition. The findings of this work have wide social- and policy-implications, encouraging intergenerational relationships to age well and promote active ageing.

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 Presented in Session 88. Linked Lives: Grandparents, Parents, and Children