A new research has found that grandchildren, who were taken care of by their grandparents during childhood, show a greater desire to take care of their grandparents as they age.
The University of Haifa study demonstrated that grandchildren, who stayed with their grandparents and received their care and concern, were more likely to look after them, as compared to others.
"Even little things, like occasional babysitting for a few hours were enough to make grandchildren want to return the favour to grandparents," said Dr. Ahuva Even-Zohar, from the School of Social Work at the University of Haifa who conducted the research.
Under the supervision of Prof. Shlomo Sharlin, the researchers assessed 216 pairs of grandchildren and their grandparents, and found that not only did grandchildren who were taken care of by their grandparents express a desire to help the latter, they were in fact very involved in helping with everyday things like transportation, shopping, nursing care, emotional support, and initiating visits.
The researchers also showed that gender influenced the desire to help, for granddaughters displayed more desire to help their grandparents than did grandsons.
However, in reality, no difference was noted in the actual support given to grandparents between granddaughters and grandsons.
"It is important to note that while the grandchildren felt an emotional connection to past experiences, grandparents need to feel that they are also helping their grandchildren in the present," remarked Dr. Even-Zohar.
"The practical meaning of the research is that grown grandchildren can, and need to be involved in the ongoing care of their grandparents and it is possible to build a program of care which includes the entire family, including grandchildren. The grandchildren's involvement in caring for their grandparents should be an important part of the family support," Dr. Even-Zohar concluded.