Caregiving may lengthen life of seniors

According to a new study, a little love can go a long way.

Researchers have found caregivers who spent an average of 14 hours or more providing support extended the life of their patient or loved one, reports.

Stephanie Brown, study author and assistant professor at the University of Michigan, told the news provider when the 14-hour caregiving routine was followed, "there was about a 36 percent reduced risk of dying in the seven-year time period."

Approximately 1,688 couples, over the age of 70, who lived on their own participated in the study, according to the article.

Caregiving may lengthen life of seniors After the seven-year study, it was found that those who received spousal caregiving "significantly decreased risk of death" when compared to those who received no assistance at all.

"Other studies caution against caregiving, but our study suggests that the actual act of caretaking may not be harmful," Brown told HealthDay.

A possible reason for the decrease in death may be because helping others is associated with a release of oxytocin, a hormone that may help buffer the effects of stress, said Brown.

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