A recent study out of Australia shows that spending a moderate amount of time caring for grandkids may prevent Alzheimer’s Disease by increasing brain function and memory.

"He’s our first grandson and we are just thrilled to pieces about having him in our lives," said Mary Humm.

She and husband Patrick are grandparents of 2-month-old Alex.

"We’ve got several other grandparent families in the neighborhood and we’re ready to join that group," said Patrick.

Their initiation as caretakers to Alex may not have been easy.

"I found that I had to reach back into the recesses of my memories of what it was like to calm and soothe a baby," said Mary.

Mary and Patrick Humm
Mary and Patrick Humm with their grandson.

Butresearchsuggestsbabysittingboostsbrainpoweranddecreasesthechancesofdevelopingdepression.

"Oneofthebestthingsyoucandoasyougetolderistomaintainthoseinteractionswithotherhumanbeings,"saidDr.DianaKerwin,chiefofgeriatricsatTexasHealthDallasandfounderofTexasAlzheimer'sandMemoryDisorders.

Kerwinnotedthatbabysittingstimulatesbraintissuesbenefitingyourmemory.

"Ifyouthinkaboutwhenyoudotakecareofachild,youtendtobecomemoreofateacher–you’reteachingthemnewexperiences,maybetakingthemtothezooorworkingonvocabularywiththem...it'sstimulatingforthebabysitter’sbrainaswell,"saidDr.Kerwin.

Theextraphysicalactivityinvolvedwithcaringforchildrenisabonus.Kerwinnotedthatyou'remorelikelytobeengaginginactivitieslikegoingtothepark,pushingchildrenonaswingorgoingforawalk.

"It'sreallygoodexercisetakingcareofababy,"saidMary."You’reswingingthem,you’rerockingthem."

TexasHealthhasaclasscalled"Grandparents101"forthisnewgenerationofgrandmasandgrandpas.Theylearnupdatedsafetyguidelines,infantCPR,andhowtochildprooftheirhome.

FortheHumms,theclassgotthemoutoftheirrutandreadyforwhateverlittleAlexthrowstheirway.

"Youdon’thavetimetothinkaboutanythingelse,"saidMary."It'sawonderfulexerciseinlove,itreallyis."

TheAustralianstudyfocusesoncaringforgrandchildrenonedayperweek.Researchshowedgrandparentsthatspendfivedaysaweekormorecaringforlittleonesmayhaveahigherriskofdevelopingneurodegenerativedisorders.