Staying healthy when you’re raising young grandchildren

This caregiver role has mental and physical health challenges.

You're not alone if you've suddenly found yourself raising your grandchildren. In the United States, three million older adults are primary caregivers to kids of all ages. Like any caregiver role, raising kids (especially young children) comes with many challenges, not the least of which is maintaining your health.

Physical challenges

The care of little kids — feeding, bathing, dressing, soothing, entertaining, lifting, carrying, and chasing after them — requires youthful energy and strength. As a grandparent you may be at a disadvantage, and not just because of age. "You may be slower from chronic conditions — like arthritis, heart problems, or diabetes — and from taking the medications needed to treat them," says Dr. Suzanne Salamon, associate chief of gerontology at Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

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