Science

Care For Others To Live Longer, Study Says

By Rodney Rafols , Dec 23, 2016 04:09 AM EST
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Many see the benefits of caring for others. Emotionally, both patient and those who care for them benefit from each other. Now there might be more to it, as care for others might help to live longer, as a study says.

For older people, caring for each other can be very beneficial. This has been found out by a recent study made by researchers from several universities. The researchers come from the University of Basel, Edith Cowan University, University of Western Australia, Humboldt University of Berlin and the Max Planck Institute for Human Development.

By helping others, the study has found that older people can live longer. The study has found that grandparents who take care of their grandchildren have better chances to live longer than those who don't. The researchers have used the data from the Berlin Aging Study which was done from 1990 to 2009. The data has studied over 500 people with an age range of 70 to 103 years old.

For the study, the researchers have focused on grandparents who have child care and compared them to those who don't. Older adults who did not have children or grandchildren but who took care of others have also been factored in, according to the University of Basel's site. The study has shown that caring for children can have a positive effect on older people.

The study has found that those who took care of children or grandchildren on average have lived for another ten years. This has been since they have first been interviewed in 1990. Those who did not though have died within five years, as Science Daily reports.

The study has also found that this positive effect is not only limited to older people who cared for their own relatives. Even those who took care of other children outside their families have benefited from it. Those who did have lived for another seven years. Those who did not help though lived only for an average of four years.

Ralph Hertwid, Director of the Center for Adaptive Rationality at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development said that the key is moderate involvement. Too much involvement can have detrimental effects, as it could lead to stress. First author Sonja Hilbrand, a doctoral student from the Department of Psychology at the University of Basel said that caring for others might have left an imprint on the neural and hormonal systems of older people. What is clear is that care for others can help to live longer, as the study says. Music can also have a positive effect as it can change a person's mood, as a study has shown.

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