Providing care for ailing spouse can lengthen your life, study finds

Share this article:
Caring for an elderly, ailing loved one can take an emotional toll, but it also may add years to your life, according to new research from the University of Michigan.

Caregivers may actually benefit from providing care under some circumstances, according to the study's lead author, Stephanie Brown. Brown and her team studied seven years worth of data collected on 1,688 elderly couples and the level of care provided by a spouse. Most couples—81%—reported no spousal assistance with activities of daily living, 9% reported fewer than 14 hours of caregiving per week, and 10% reported more than 14 hours.

During the course of the study, 27% of the study participants died. After adjusting for a variety of factors including health, age, race, gender and education, Brown and her team found that those who gave more than 14 hours a week in care to a spouse were significantly less likely to have died during the study. Brown speculates that one reason might be that actively helping someone you love reduces some of the stress of seeing that person suffer. The full study will appear in an upcoming issue of the journal Psychological Science.
Share this article:

More in News

CMS expands therapy payment research

The government is expanding its research into alternative therapy payments, to consider more holistic changes to the way Medicare reimburses skilled nursing facilities, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced Tuesday.

CDC tightens Ebola guidelines for healthcare workers

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued more stringent guidelines for how healthcare workers should interact with Ebola patients, following an outcry from nurses and other professionals.

Nonprofit providers face alarming market forces, must rally, LeadingAge chairman says

Nonprofit providers face alarming market forces, must rally, ...

Nonprofit long-term care providers must work together to address alarming trends, or their market share could plummet and the sector as a whole could falter, LeadingAge Chairman David Gehm told ...