Elderly caregivers may reap tangible health benefits from helping others that could prolong their own lives, suggests a new study led by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researchers.
In the study, published in The Journals of Gerontology, researchers tracked the status of 1,068 women with an average age of 81 years. Thirty-five percent of the women were actively taking care of a spouse, family member, or friend.
Overall, caregivers had lower mortality rates than non-caregivers in all analyses. This benefit diminished over time, indicating that the timing of leaving caregiving does influence this relationship and should be considered in future investigations.
Lead author Dr. Lisa Fredman, a professor of epidemiology, said this study took a different approach to examine the association between caregiving and mortality by treating caregiving as time-varying event. It also looked at mortality for up to five years after caregiving ceased.
To learn more about the study, go to: http://www.bu.edu/sph/2015/07/09/study-adds-to-findings-of-lower-mortality-among-elderly-caregivers/