SPECIAL MOMENTS: Chris and Bruce Syme love hanging out with their grandchildren. Here they are pictured with two of their five grandkids, Rhys, 12 and Brooke, 4, at their home in Ballina.
SPECIAL MOMENTS: Chris and Bruce Syme love hanging out with their grandchildren. Here they are pictured with two of their five grandkids, Rhys, 12 and Brooke, 4, at their home in Ballina. Alison Paterson

Caring for others helps us live longer

WHEN Chris and Bruce Syme hang out with any of their five grandchildren, it's hard to tell whose having the most fun.

Watching them interact at the couple's Ballina home, it's clear that regular contact with the youngsters is a delight.

Ms Syme said she loves playing dolls house and cooking with her youngest grandchild, Brooke, 4, while Mr Syme said he enjoyed taking them swimming and cycling.

"We love having them around,” Ms Syme said.

"It's good to give their parents a break,” Mr Syme added.

According to a new report, 'Caregiving within and beyond the family is associated with lower mortality for the caregiver: A prospective study,' the pair are part of a trend of seniors who care for others are also doing themselves a favour by prolonging their own lives,

Published in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior, the international research team found that grandparents who care for their grandchildren on average live longer than grandparents who do not.

The data showed that half of the grandparents who took care of their grandchildren were still alive about a decade after the first interview in 1990 as were participants who did not have grandchildren, but who supported their children.

But about half of those who did not help others died within five years.

Meanwhile, the Syme grandchildren reckon they love spending time with their grandparents.

"It's good to have them to talk to,” Rhys, 12, said.

"We get more spoilt,” Wyatt, 11, said.

As for Brooke, she was too busy cajoling her grandma into reading her a book aloud to comment.

More information on being involved with you grandchildren from the Australian Institute of Family Studies



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