Navigation Links
The health burden of raising a grandchild
Date:11/7/2008

Precautionary health measures such as mammograms and cholesterol tests that identify the risk of heart disease are critical for the well-being of women over 50. Add the responsibility of providing sustained care for a grandchild, and these preventive examinations become even more important.

Yet, grandmothers in the first two years of caring for a grandchild take fewer preventive measures to protect their health compared to grandmothers the same age not raising children, according to a recent USC Davis School of Gerontology study.

According to the study, the number of custodial grandparents in the Unites States has nearly doubled since 1970, creating an emerging public health concern.

"Given that this group is already at risk for poor health outcomes because of their advanced age and vulnerability to chronic conditions, poor preventive behavior might precipitate a decline in health over time, a situation which could render the grandmother unable to care for her grandchild," explained lead author, Lindsey Baker, a postdoctoral fellow at the USC Davis School.

In a recent paper in the Journal of Gerontology, Baker and co-author Merril Silverstein, USC professor of gerontology and sociology, looked at five types of protective health behaviors: influenza vaccination, cholesterol screening, monthly breast self-examination, mammography and Papanicolaou tests, or Pap tests, used to identify risk factors for cervical cancer.

Their findings indicate that grandmothers in the early stages of caring for a grandchild were significantly less likely than grandmothers not raising grandchildren to undergo flu vaccination or cholesterol screening. They were also less likely to get Pap tests, the researchers found.

However, after two years of caring for a grandchild, what was once a health burden becomes a potential health benefit. Baker and Silverstein found that caregiving grandmothers were increasingly health conscious once they made the transition into full-time care, becoming more likely than those not raising grandchildren to adopt preventative health measures such as flu vaccinations and monthly breast self-exams.

"Long-term caregivers are particularly motivated to maintain a healthy lifestyle, in order to be prepared to care for the child in the future. As grandmothers adapt to their new role, this motivation begins to outweigh constraints on service use," Baker said.

The researchers looked at more than 5,200 grandmothers between the ages of 50 and 75. The women were divided into those who had cared for a grandchild for more than two years, those who had cared for a grandchild for two years or less, and those who did not care for a grandchild.

The lower incidence of preventive health care in the first two years of raising a grandchild was true even among grandmothers for whom raising a grandchild was not a financial or emotional strain,, according to the study.

"This implies that even grandparents and grandchildren in households traditionally seen as stable and therefore not generally targeted by state and federal programs, may be at adverse risk if lower use of health screening results in greater prevalence of disease and disability among caregiving grandparents," Baker said.

Baker and Silverstein write that healthy habits among long-term grandmothers do not fully offset the lack of preventive health examinations during the crucial transition period.

The researchers advocate for support groups that target a range of interventions such as check-ups, screenings and inoculations aimed at promoting healthy behavior among new grandparent caregivers.

"Many of these support groups are already available on a local level," Baker said. "They provide ride-share programs or babysitting drop off centers so grandmothers can go through health checkups."

Baker also emphasized the need for greater awareness, especially in low-income areas where many grandmother caregivers live: "They need to know not only that such programs exist but that services such as cholesterol tests and flu shots are inexpensive or available at low cost for many older adults."


'/>"/>

Contact: Suzanne Wu
suzanne.wu@usc.edu
213-740-0252
University of Southern California
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. U.S. News Media Group and NCQA Release 2008 Rankings for Americas Best Health Plans
2. Sagent Pharmaceuticals Announces Presentations at Upcoming Lazard Capital Markets and Piper Jaffray Healthcare Conferences
3. New Acticoat(TM) Silver Coated Anti-microbial Barrier Dressing Receives Regulatory Approval from Health Canada
4. EntreMed to Present at the Rodman and Renshaw 10th Annual Healthcare Conference
5. Accellent and Marathon Health Partner for Employee Health. Employee Health Status and Costs Drive New Health Strategy
6. Acai Berry Health Foods Heightens Consumer Awareness of the Purple Miracle Berry
7. Health Plan of Michigan Ranked Among Nations Best Medicaid Health Plans in 2008
8. Green Areas Lower Health Inequities Between Rich, Poor
9. Savient Pharmaceuticals to Present at the Credit Suisse Phoenix Healthcare Conference on November 13th
10. Obama's Call for "Change We Can Believe In" Makes Prevention a Priority in Health Reform
11. Trust for Americas Health Joins GAO in Calling for Next Administration to Focus on Urgent Public Health Issues as Top Priorities
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:12/7/2016)... ... December 07, 2016 , ... Maureen McLaughlin, LA.c., ... Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut (RMACT). McLaughlin brings nearly 20 years of experience ... to help patients realize their family building goals. Acupuncture helps fertility patients ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... ... December 07, 2016 , ... “Fred Rides a Train” allows readers to ... , “Fred Rides a Train” is the creation of published author, Janet Morrison, ... teen years in Michigan. The "Fred, the Dog" series is her first attempt at ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... ... December 07, 2016 , ... NuevaCare, a leading home care agency ... to announce new city-specific pages as part of its ambitious website relaunch. As Bay ... look, first, for local agencies serving their city. The new site has several key ...
(Date:12/6/2016)... ... December 06, 2016 , ... Men with gum ... risk of serious health problems, such as cardiovascular illness, according to research cited ... Beverly Hills Periodontics & Dental Implant Center notes that the correlation between periodontal ...
(Date:12/6/2016)... ... December 06, 2016 , ... ... has named Ajdin Camaga as a vice president of sales. , “Ajdin understands ... president. “He works hard to understand what each client needs, and is persistent ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:12/7/2016)... Dec. 7, 2016  Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: IONS ... present a company overview at the BMO Capital Markets Prescriptions for ... York, NY . A live webcast of the ... the Ionis website.  The replay will be available within 48 hours ... ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... 7, 2016 Today, Stock-Callers.com presents four ... JAZZ ), Anthera Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ANTH ... AveXis Inc. (NASDAQ: AVXS ). From its peak ... 37% to reach a level equal to what it saw ... approximately 14% for the year, it has still out-performed other ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... According to the latest market ... Study on Multiplex Detection Immunoassay: North America to Dominate ... detection immunoassay market is expected to witness a CAGR of ... ...      (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20161114/438683LOGO) ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: