My friend Maren had a new hairdo, mussed and lopsided with a pink bow on one side, courtesy of her 4-year-old granddaughter, Audie.

She had picked up Audie and her sister, Iris, who’s 2, from preschool, stopped at Twirl Frozen Yogurt and played hair salon.

“They’re adorable, and I love them,” Maren said. Even when they tie her hair in knots.

They’re good for her, too.

Someone had sent Maren a story about a small study out of Australia in 2014. It suggested babysitting grandkids may prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Because when grandma reads to her grandkids, plays games and takes them to the park or the zoo, it stimulates her brain and improves memory.

Women ages 57 to 68 took cognition tests and those who babysat one day a week scored the highest. Grandmothers who babysat five or more days a week scored the lowest. (The lesson here: Don’t wear out Nana.)

Maren minds her granddaughters a few times a week. The girls light up when she arrives. “Nobody is as happy to see me as those girls,” she said.

Audie pretended she is a teacher, reading to Nana and Iris. Iris handed Nana a baby doll and asked her to sing to stop its crying.

“I just love seeing how their little minds work,” Maren said.

Her grandson, Kadin, who’s 16, introduces her to new things, like social media, shows, music. They saw Spike Lee’s movie “BlacKkKlansman” together and talked about race.

“He broadens my thinking,” Maren said. On the way home, Kadin fiddled with the car radio, tuning it to Thundercat, a funk-soul-jazz bass virtuoso.

“He is constantly surprising me,” Maren said.

With all the time she spends with her grandkids, she figures if she does end up with Alzheimer’s disease, they will remember she took care of them.

And maybe they will take care of her. Audie can do her hair.

Reach Karina at [email protected] or 602-444-8614.


Read or Share this story: