Happy people live longer

Happy people live longer! In a survey of almost 4000 people aged between 52 and 79, the ones whose happiness rated highest were less likely to die in the next five years. In fact, they had a 35% chance of living longer. This backs up previous research, which also suggests that well-being and a positive outlook leads to longer life.

So what are the important factors? It appears that social interaction is the key.  Even if people are less mobile and therefore less able to get out themselves, it’s critical to have contact with others, whether that is via visitors at home, at day centres or even communicating with friends via the internet.

Many older people get lonely, but these days there are many ways to help alleviate the boredom of day-to-day life, especially if you live on your own. Technology has opened whole new worlds to everyone and the elderly are no exception. In fact, older people read more easily and quickly on a Kindle than with a book.  iPads can give older people access to games, shopping, Skype, reading and the internet and there are so many great apps they can use.  iPods can be pre-loaded with audiobooks and music for your ageing parent to enjoy. Nintendo DS, or Nintendo Wii can help keep both brain and body active, alert and happy.

Volunteering is a great way to socialise and meet new people, as is developing a new hobby, or even starting your own craft or walking group. Gardening is a great activity, which keeps your older relative fit, healthy and gives them plenty of fresh air…assuming it stops raining some of the time! It also gives people a great sense of satisfaction to grow their own fruit and vegetables to eat themselves.

The secret to a longer life appears to be get busy, stay as active as you can and socialise as much as possible. It’s easier to do this now than ever before, with a little help from technology and those around you.

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