Navigation Links
Seniors Who Volunteer May Live Longer
Date:5/8/2009

Altruistic activities could cut the death risk in half, study finds,,,,

FRIDAY, May 8 (HealthDay News) -- Volunteering your time doesn't just help others; it turns out, it probably benefits your health, too.

Retirees over 65 who volunteered had less than half the risk of dying compared to their non-volunteering peers, according to a study presented May 2 at the American Geriatrics Society annual meeting, in Chicago.

"We found that volunteering remains a powerful predictor of decreased mortality among current U.S. retirees, even after extensive adjustment for possible confounding factors," wrote the study's authors.

Although previous research has already shown an improvement in mortality rates among people who volunteer, the authors noted that past research has focused on people born before 1920, and that those studies haven't adjusted for all of the potential variables, such as socioeconomic status or chronic health conditions. One argument that people have made is that older people who are volunteering are likely healthier than those who choose not to volunteer, and that's one of the many possible confounding factors the current study tried to address.

"Our research was building on what other people have previously done. A concern with past studies is that volunteers may be healthier to begin with. We thought we could account for this and other factors that could confound the relationship, and even after we examined those other factors, volunteers still had lower mortality," said the study's lead author, Dr. Sei Lee, an assistant professor of geriatrics at the University of California, San Francisco, and the San Francisco VA Medical Center.

However, Lee pointed out that this study's findings are preliminary and said his research is ongoing.

The study included 6,360 retired people over 65 years of age who were enrolled in the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) in 2002. This study population is considered representative of older adults in the United States. The average age in the study was 78, and the study population was 60 percent female.

Whether or not the study participants volunteered was assessed by asking, "Have you spent any time in the past 12 months doing volunteer work for religious, educational, health-related or other charitable organizations?"

The researchers controlled the data to account for demographics, socioeconomic status, chronic health conditions, geriatric syndromes, functional limitations, a subject's propensity for volunteering, depression, cognition and self-rated health.

In this initial assessment, the researchers found that 12 percent of the 1,766 volunteers in the study died compared to 26 percent of the non-volunteers. After adjusting the data, the researchers said the association between volunteering and a lower risk of mortality wasn't as strong, but that it still existed.

Lee said that although they didn't study the reasons for the apparent benefit of volunteering, other researchers have, and that several factors likely play a role. One may be that volunteers have a better social network, which has been associated with lower mortality. He said that volunteering also seems to be associated with "self-efficacy" or a belief in your own abilities to accomplish certain tasks. "Staying healthy requires doing different things like quitting smoking or losing weight," explained Lee, and people who have higher self-efficacy may believe themselves more capable of accomplishing those tasks.

"This is another component of a long line of work that suggests you want to remain engaged in life, and be active in as many domains as possible. Be physically active, mentally active and socially active. These are really important for staying as healthy as possible for as long as possible," said Lee.

"People who are socially engaged will have a better quality of life and better survival," said Dr. Gary Kennedy, director of the division of geriatric psychiatry at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. "This study is a good way of using science to reinforce what's good common sense. Volunteering is a good thing to do, and lo and behold, it's good for you, too."

More information

Learn more about the benefits of volunteering at NationalService.gov.



SOURCES: Sei Lee, M.D., assistant professor, medicine, geriatrics, University of California, San Francisco; Gary Kennedy, M.D., director, division of geriatric psychiatry, Montefiore Medical Center, New York City; May 2, 2009, presentation, American Geriatrics Society annual meeting, Chicago


'/>"/>
Copyright©2009 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. New Guidelines Recommend Opioids for Seniors Pain
2. Seniors Cope With Sleep Loss Better Than Young Adults
3. Mealtime interaction encourages hospitalized seniors to eat more
4. National Advisory Board Issues Declaration for Independence: A Call-to-Action in Healthcare for Seniors and People with Disabilities
5. Medical Director of Renowned Los Angeles Jewish Home Offers Advice to Seniors on Avoiding Swine Flu
6. Seniors Should Watch for Drug Interactions When Taking Multiple Medications
7. AHCA/Alliance: New Medicare Regulation Will Hurt Seniors, Cost Jobs, Perpetuate Inefficiency
8. New National Survey Reveals Eight in 10 Seniors Satisfied With Medicare Drug Benefit
9. Area Seniors Rally to Support Medicare Advantage Health Plans
10. Seniors Invited to Learn About Fraud Prevention at SCAN Connections Resource Center on April 28
11. SCAN Health Plan Partners With Local Station ABC 15 to Provide Healthy Living Tips and Resources to Area Seniors
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Seniors Who Volunteer May Live Longer
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... ... PawPaws brand pet supplements owned by Whole Health Supply is ... of felines. The formula is all-natural and is made from Chinese herbs that have ... Kidney Support Supplement Soft Chews are Astragalus Root Extract and Rehmannia Root Extract ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Experts from the American Institutes for Research ... June 26-28, 2016, at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston. , AIR experts ... planning, healthcare costs and patient and family engagement. , AIR researchers will be ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... Viejo, California (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... ... to fit their specific project," said Christina Austin - CEO of Pixel Film Studios. ... fully customizable and all within Final Cut Pro X . Simply select a ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... , ... June 25, 2016 , ... ... and non-athletes recover from injury. Recently, he has implemented orthobiologic procedures as a ... area —Johnson is one of the first doctors to perform the treatment. Orthobiologics ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... A recent article published June ... with. The article goes on to state that individuals are now more comfortable seeking ... common operations such as calf and cheek reduction. The Los Angeles area medical group, ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016 Any dentist who has made an implant ... process. Many of them do not even offer this as ... high laboratory costs involved. And those who ARE able to ... a high cost that the majority of today,s patients would ... Parsa Zadeh , founder of Dental Evolutions Inc. and inventor ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... LOS ANGELES , June 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... (NASDAQ: CAPR ), a biotechnology company ... first-in-class therapeutics, today announced that patient enrollment in ... progrEssion in Duchenne) has exceeded 50% of its ... its enrollment in the third quarter of 2016, ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016  Astellas today announced the establishment of Astellas Farma Colombia (AFC), a new affiliate with operations headquartered in ... America . ... ... ... ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: