Children can be troublesome and surely at some point in time cause every parent a degree of heartache growing up. But science reveals that there may be benefits to parents beyond the obvious love and affection. It turns out that people with children are more likely to live past key age milestones like 60, 70 and 80. The evidence shows people with children have a statistically significant increase in lifespan.
The most obvious reason that people with children live longer is that they have the strength and ability to care for them. Children remind parents to take their medicine, to see the doctor and to make the right lifestyle choices including eating well, getting exercise and sleeping regularly.
Most of all, children make sure that their parents are put in the right situations for their conditions. If they have serious memory loss they may require a certain type of constant oversight. If they are unable to walk, they may only need help at certain times of the day such as in the morning and at night. Children can make the decisions about which facility their parent needs to live in and what type of home health aide is required.
Studies have shown that seniors lose social connections as they age and retire. Obviously, retirement causes the loss of daily contact with work colleagues and business partners. However, seniors are out of the home and less likely to make appointments with other friends who may live far away. Of course, friends also being to pass away which reduces social connections. This is especially true for men since they have a shorter lifespan in general.
Children are there to make up this social gap for seniors. They are there to ask them their opinions, update them on their lives, discuss sports, politics and generally be social. Studies indicate that this sociability provides meaning and entertainment to seniors, and gives them a reason to keep living life fully.
Researchers have conducted in-depth analysis into the question of whether children help people to live longer. They were sure to take out the effects of things such as education, ethnicity and other demographic factors, age and income. They make sure to isolate the population statistically and compare them against control groups.
For example, according to the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, men with children who live to 60 years of age are likely to live two years longer than their childless peers. The same study found that women live 1.5 years longer than other childless women. The study was fairly comprehensive, examining the records of 704,481 men and 725,290 women that were from Sweden and born between 1911 and 1925.
Once you reach the age of 90, your chances of living an additional year decrease substantially compared to earlier years in your life. Men that reach that age without children have a death risk of 17.7 per cent, while those with children have a 16.2 percent rate.
Interestingly, the gender of the child or children did not effect the lifespan of their parents. The distance of the children from the parents also did not seem to have much effect according to the study. However, the vast majority of the children did live close to their parents so this point may not have been studied well-enough.
In any case, the research is clearly in that children help to increase the lifespan of their parents. Seniors with this social, medical and physical support network are better off and live longer, healthier lives.