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from A Grandpa's Notebook, Meyer Moldeven

Long-term studies of large communities offer evidence that individuals with strong family and social ties tend to be healthier than who live in isolation.

A conference of doctors and social scientists proposed a theory that altruism, particularly when the helper observes its benefits, can reduce feelings of helplessness and depression and thus enhance health. Also, persons who came in direct contact with those that they aided reported a strong and lasting sense of satisfaction, even exhilaration, an increased sense of self-worth, less depression, and fewer aches and pains.

Relating the theory to the theme of these notes, what a grandparent gets back often depends to the value he or she places on, and the efforts he or she makes toward building positive intergenerational relationships. If family has significance, then interacting with a grandchild, near or faraway, manifests that significance and the returns it generates.

'Returns' imply 'investments.' As grandparents age, their 'investment' is transformed into a 'return.' The 'return' contributes vitality, vibrancy and enrichment to a grandparent's latter years.

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