From MSNBC: “people who spent at least 14 hours a week caring for a sick spouse were almost 30 percent less likely to die during the study period than those who spent no time helping.”

The findings contradict the expectation that the stresses and burdens of caregiving would result in a decreased lifespan. Researchers studied more than 1,600 people, asking them “whether they either provided or received help with such daily activities as eating, dressing, bathing, walking across the room, or using the toilet. They were also asked who performed household tasks such as grocery shopping, managing money and meal preparation.”

It was necessary to control for the heartbreak of stressing over a loved one’s illness, but given that, caregiving was good for all involved. A similar, but smaller, study also found similar results. “A full 90 percent of those interviewed reported that their caregiving enabled them to appreciate life more. Many also reported that it helped them develop a more positive attitude toward life. When it came to stresses associated with caregiving, 44 percent said they felt ‘no strain’ while 41 percent reported ‘some strain.'”

The only downside, one caregiver said, was that she gets no respect.


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