Navigation Links
Caregiving May Lengthen Life
Date:12/19/2008

Taking care of spouse decreases risk of death, study finds,,,,

FRIDAY, Dec. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Much has been reported about the stress and burden of caregiving, but a new study suggests there may be a flip side to taking care of someone you love as they age -- a decreased risk of death.

"We found that caregivers who spent an average of 14 or more hours a week caregiving lived longer and reduced their risk of dying by about half," said study author Stephanie Brown, an assistant professor in internal medicine at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She added that even after they controlled the data to account for things such as age or previous illness, "there was about a 36 percent reduced risk of dying in the seven-year time period."

Results of the study were published in the current issue of Psychological Science.

The study included 1,688 couples who lived on their own, not in assisted living or a nursing home. All of the study participants were over 70.

The researchers gathered health and demographic information as well as information on how much each spouse helped the other with normal activities of daily living, such as eating, dressing, managing money and taking medications.

Eighty-one percent received no help at all with their daily tasks, while 9 percent said they received less than 14 hours a week of help from their spouse. Ten percent reported receiving more than 14 hours a week of help from their spouse.

Over the seven-year study, 27 percent of the study volunteers died.

When the researchers analyzed the data and controlled for factors such as age, race, gender, education level and net worth, they found that providing care for your spouse for more than 14 hours a week was associated with a significantly decreased risk of death compared to those who provided no spousal caregiving.

"Other studies caution against caregiving, but our study suggests that the actual act of caretaking may not be harmful," said Brown.

"This study shows that the burden of caregiving can sometimes be lightly born," said Dr. Gary Kennedy, director of geriatric psychiatry at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. But, he said that the results might be different depending on the type of care a spouse has to provide. Taking care of someone with early-stage Alzheimer's disease, who can still function fairly well and still behaves normally for the most part is much different from taking care of someone in the middle stages of the disease, who may be aggressive or may not sleep well.

Brown believes that the decreased risk of death comes from physiological benefits from caregiving instead of psychological ones. The authors suggest that stress regulation may play a role in this benefit. Helping others is associated with a release of oxytocin, a hormone that may help buffer the effects of stress, Brown explained.

Kennedy said the survival benefit is likely caused by both physiological and psychological factors.

"We know that in rat pups that are prematurely weaned, their heart rate plummets, even before they've lost body temperature, so it's not related to cooling or caloric problems at that point. Simply being separated changes the heart rate. Social interactions have a biological impact," he explained.

Plus, he said, having a partner to care for provides structure and a sense of purpose.

More information

Learn more about controlling caregiver stress from the National Women's Health Information Center.



SOURCES: Stephanie Brown, Ph.D., assistant professor, internal medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and researcher, VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System; Gary Kennedy, M.D., director, geriatric psychiatry, Montefiore Medical Center, New York City; 2008 Psychological Science


'/>"/>
Copyright©2008 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. AARP Finds Value of Unpaid Family Caregiving in Illinois Hits $17 Billion
2. Caregiving Company AmeriCare Adds Franchise in Maryland
3. Gail Sheehy Named AARPs Ambassador of Caregiving
4. Ceridian LifeWorks Offers CareGiverHelper Service to Clients to Ease Stress of Family Caregiving
5. Do You Need a Caregiving Break Today?
6. 2008 Caregiving Conferences Come to Wayne County, Offering Free Workshops and Resources in Canton and Taylor Locations
7. AARPS New Book Caring for Your Parents, Online Channel, and PBS TV Special Launch to Provide Consumers With Integrated Resources for Caregiving
8. USC study examines effects of caregiving
9. Elder Caregiving Site ShirleyBOARD.com Wins WebAward for Outstanding Online Community
10. Healthier Lifestyles Would Lengthen American Lives
11. High Doses of Vitamin E Lengthen Lives of Alzheimers Patients
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Caregiving May Lengthen Life
(Date:8/18/2017)... ... August 18, 2017 , ... Radabaugh & Associates, a ... communities in North-Central West Virginia, is embarking on a cooperative charity effort with ... area. , The Chestnut Mountain Ranch (CMR) is a Christ-centered boarding school for ...
(Date:8/18/2017)... ... 2017 , ... The Brian Gifford Agency, an Indiana-based firm providing asset protection ... Campagna Academy in a charity drive to provide for at-risk children and teens in ... Academy is a nonprofit organization that has offered critical programs to at-risk and foster ...
(Date:8/18/2017)... ... 2017 , ... “Emotions are sacred, valid, honored, encouraged. This is the memo ... Generation Mindful. To help change the mindset of parents and educators from punitive to ... the Time-In Toolkit, which launched on Kickstarter 3 weeks ago and fully funded in ...
(Date:8/18/2017)... ... 18, 2017 , ... Alcovit, a lime-flavored beverage that rids the body of ... its product now available through Jet.com. , After 25 years of development, the ... is designed to quickly detox the body thereby avoiding alcohol-induced hangovers. Whether you’re having ...
(Date:8/18/2017)... ... ... “Our Mountains to Climb: A Journey of Love and Faith Through Trials”: ... faith they shared to overcome struggles in life. “Our Mountains to Climb: A Journey ... Corcoran, a retired teacher and happily married since 1999; the author’s personal experiences drive ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:8/17/2017)... , August 17, 2017 DarioHealth ... Company with mobile health and big data solutions, ... agreements with domestic and non-U.S. investors for the ... and shares of the Company,s newly designated Series ... offerings. The Company expects to conduct a closing ...
(Date:8/15/2017)... HOUSTON , Aug. 15, 2017   Mostyn Law ... in Houston, Texas . The Mostyn Law ... the past 2 years. That is why Mostyn Law ... Texas to show its appreciation. Blood supplies ... to fall 5% short of hospital needs in August. That is ...
(Date:8/15/2017)... Aug. 15, 2017  Axium Pharmaceuticals Inc., the creator of the drug ... in the beginning stages of an IPO. The ... with the average cost of a prescription epilepsy drug being $450.00-$1200.00 for ... AXIUM PHARMACEUTICALS, INC ... Another staggering figure is the fact that Americans spent ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: