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Study shows being nice may help you live longer

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Posted at 1:35 PM, Dec 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-28 15:11:44-05

A new study finds caring for others can help you live longer.

What are the details of this new study?
This latest study looked at survival data of more than 500 people over the age of 70.  Participants were interviewed at the start of the study.  Researchers found the adults who occasionally took care of their grandchildren, or helped their adult children were more likely to be alive 10 years later.  The adults who didn’t help others, roughly half of them died within five years.

What if you only helped people outside your family?
The positive effects of caregiving also extended to childless adults helping others in their social network.  Researchers found half of them lived for another seven years compared to only four years for those who were non-helpers.

How does caring for others help you live longer?
Moderate levels of caregiving can boost your mood and produce positive emotions.  The researchers believe this may help to counter negative effects like stress.  To be a good caregiver and also take care of yourself, here are my prescriptions:

Partha’s RX:

1. Set Expectations
Decide what’s a reasonable amount of help that you can offer.

2. You have the right to say no and set boundaries
Understand your needs are just as important as the person or family you are helping.

3. Watch out for stress
Caregiving can be overwhelming - if you take on too much, be sure to say you’ve reached your limit.

4. If you don’t have loved ones to help, consider volunteering
There are many non-profits that could use your help – start by researching causes that are important to you.

Do you still live longer if you have full-time caregiving duties?
The study found that full-time caregiving may cause more stress for older people.  So it’s best to find a balance - because helping others is good for your health and longer living.