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Redefining grandparenthood: Finding success as an older, yet more involved, grandparent

(BPT) - Young parenthood is becoming a thing of the past. In 2021, the mean age of mothers giving birth for the first time was 27.3, a record high for the U.S. As a result, their parents are becoming grandparents later as well, though thanks to longer lifespans, they are still able to enjoy time in this rewarding role. In fact, the number of living grandparents and great-grandparents is rising, which presents new potential benefits. Having more familial connections available can build a stronger family bond and even offer additional childcare options, so long as grandparents are willing and able.

By staying healthy and active, older grandparents can keep up with little ones and reap many of the benefits of providing that care. According to research published in a peer-reviewed medical journal, spending time with grandkids can help with mental sharpness, physical fitness, and even improved mental health. Being an older grandparent, though, may also present a need for better planning, as older adult children may have to juggle caring for their little ones and aging parents.

'Pursuing goals like a healthier lifestyle and preparation for the future are a little bit easier when you have access to tools and resources as a guide,' said Greg Marion, SVP Health Products and Services, AARP Services. 'Fortunately, AARP members also have access to many benefits that can help achieve those goals so they can better enjoy this new era of grandparenthood.'

Stay Well

Looking after young children can help you stay fit, but it's helpful to have some stamina from the start. Activities like walking and strength training can help with endurance, balance and overall fitness. It's also a good idea to regularly see your primary care physician to stay on top of any issues and ensure you're taking care of your health. You'll also want to take preventative measures to minimize illness or ailments.

Look for a physician who accepts your insurance plan so you can stay well. Oak Street Health, for example, provides primary care for adults on Medicare and focuses on prevention with personalized care to help keep you healthy - physically, mentally and socially. Benefits include same-day/next-day appointments (where available), convenient locations, a dedicated care team, and a 24/7 patient support line.

Stay Prepared

The opportunity to care for grandchildren can be fun and joyful, but it's also a significant responsibility. Being aware of your surroundings and staying physically fit can help prevent injuries during playtime. In addition, it's good to be prepared with first aid supplies and have an action plan in place in the case of an emergency.

At home or away, Lifeline's medical alert systems offer peace of mind, especially when caring for a grandchild who may be unable to call for help. Help can be called 24/7/365 with just the press of a button, or automatically with fall detection enabled. AARP members save 15% on medical alert service and get free shipping and activation. You can choose the system that suits your lifestyle for fast access to help anytime.

While enjoying the present, it's a good idea to prepare for the long term as well, like planning for circumstances where you might need assistance with getting dressed, driving to appointments, or making meals, either at home or within a facility.

With young children and established careers, today's adults may be less able to provide aging parents with adequate support. Planning for long-term care can make getting that help easier and more financially manageable. You have access to information on long-term care options to help you prepare for the future with customized solutions to help protect your assets and lifestyle.

Save Up

Living longer might mean stretching a fixed income further, which can be challenging with medical expenses and the added cost of wanting to spoil grandchildren. Finding ways to save on medical costs can be a big help.

AARP® Prescription Discounts Provided by Optum RX® can help with savings on prescriptions. This program offers a free prescription discount card that can be used at over 66,000 pharmacies nationwide for savings on FDA-approved medications. The program is open to anyone, but AARP members receive additional benefits, including deeper discounts on medications, home delivery, coverage for your dependents and more.

If you're visiting with your grandchildren for extended periods of time, learn about Medicare-Related Options to ensure that you have the right coverage to fit your lifestyle and financial situation when traveling. Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) can help pay for hospital costs, inpatient and outpatient care and doctor visits, but it does not cover all costs.

Enjoy It

It's a gift to be able to meet your grandchildren, and the opportunity to be an active part of their childhood is priceless. By being prepared and taking preventative steps to manage your health, you can enjoy today's version of grandparenthood for many fruitful years. To learn more about AARP member benefits, visit

AARP and its affiliates are not insurers, agents, brokers or producers. AARP member benefits are provided by third parties, not by AARP or its affiliates. Providers pay a royalty fee to AARP for the use of its intellectual property. These fees are used for the general purposes of AARP. Some provider offers are subject to change and may have restrictions. Please contact the provider directly for details.

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