Actress Audrey Hepburn once said, “The most important thing is to enjoy your life—to be happy—it’s all that matters.” It turns out that her statement may be even wiser than it appears on the surface. According to a new British study, happiness might actually be one of the keys to living a longer life.
About the Happiness Study
The study used data collected from around 9,800 older adults who took the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing survey. The average age of the participants was 64. The researchers used the data collected from the survey to first determine the participants’ subjective sense of well-being. Well-being, according to a psychologist named Nancy Mramor who was not involved in the study, is “the perception of how well you are, not the actual fact of how well you are.”
The researchers followed the participants after the survey to see if their health matched what they reported about their well-being. The results of the study found:
- Men who were 50 and happy lived an average of 30 more years without disability and 21 years without a chronic illness. In comparison, men who reported being unhappy and depressed had only 20 years before disability and 11 before chronic disease.
- 50-year-old women who were happy experienced similar results with 31 years disability free and 22 years without chronic illness. Unhappy women averaged 21 years without disability and 12 without chronic illness.
- Happiness continued to increase lifespan even into the participants’ 80’s.
There are a couple theories as to why happiness affects lifespan. One is that being unhappy causes stress, which takes a physical toll on the body. Another is that when people are happy, they tend to take better care of themselves because they have something to live for.
How Elder Care Can Increase Happiness in Older Adults
If your aging relative could use a little more happiness in their life, elder care can help in a number of ways, such as:
- Taking them on outings to restaurants, museums, zoos, theaters, and more.
- Driving them to stores to shop.
- Offering conversation and companionship.
- Playing card or board games with the older adult.
- Driving the senior to their place of worship.
- Driving the senior to visit friends or family.
- Assisting with hobbies, like doing crafts.
In addition to the many fun things an elder care provider can do with an older adult, they can perform more practical tasks that can also improve well-being by improving their health and quality of life. Elder care providers can cook meals, clean the house, remind the older adult to take medications, and assist them with dressing and bathing.
If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring Elder Care Services in Cotati CA, call At Your Service Home Care. Call today! (707) 573-1003
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