Great article, and my own personal experience, on how grandmothers who take care of their grandchildren hone their cognitive abilities. A study found that, "grandmothers who take care of their grandchildren one day a week do better on cognitive tests than peers who mind grandkids more often, or not at all.
Researchers say the brain benefits from this form of "grandparenting" may come not just from having social engagement, but "active" engagement in those relationships.
"The key point here is they found that the socialization part was important primarily when it was associated with some kind of useful function," said Dr. William J. Hall, a geriatrician who was not involved in the study.
"The party line on this from geriatricians like me is that some form of social engagement seems to be absolutely essential for maximizing the chances you will have good brain function for those years," said Hall, who directs the Center for Healthy Aging at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York.