We all know the tough job of parenting can feel thankless at times, though it definitely comes with some major rewards. But did you know one of these rewards may be a longer life? A new study suggests those who have at least one child have a greater chance of lengthening their life.
CBS News reports about the Swedish study that suggests just by simply being a parent you may have a better shot at living longer. The large study looked at the health data of about 705,000 men and 725,000 women. Those that were studied were from Sweden and born between the years 1911 and 1925.
Dads seem to fare slightly better than moms in longer life expectancies. For example; by the age of 60, fathers tend to live 2 years longer than non-fathers. Moms live roughly 1.5 years longer than women who never have children. Fathers who make it to age 80 will usually live 8 months longer than non-dads and moms 7 months longer than non-mothers. Lead author of the study Karin Modig says, “Parents live longer than non-parents, even in the oldest ages.” The study also found that the numbers were the same whether parents had sons or daughters.
So why is having kids somehow beneficial to our life expectancy, even long after they’re flown the coop? Many studies have proven that being social and having family and friends close can be major health benefits. Children also can offer much-needed support to their aging parents. Modig explains, “Children probably provide important support to their aging parents. Aging individuals without children or other close kin maybe need to get extra support elsewhere.”
Though childless seniors may see this information as daunting, being involved with any group can have its benefits. Dr. Gisele Wolf-Klein, director of geriatric education at Northwell Health in Great Neck, N.Y, believes seniors can get the same kind of longevity benefits whether they have children or not. Dr. Wolf-Klein says, “My hunch is it does not matter what you do with the kids. If you are exposed to a family, that will maintain you emotionally or physically.” She adds, “If you’re childless, that doesn’t mean you can’t link yourself to a group.”
What do you think of this study that suggests having children can help parents live longer?
Do you think childless seniors can get the same benefits from close-knit friends and family?