People who care for ill and disabled family members may live slightly longer than peers who have no such responsibilities, a surprising new study suggests. David L. Roth, director of the Johns Hopkins Center on Aging and Health and lead author of the study, told Reuters care-giving stress may have been over-exaggerated. During the 2003-2012 study period, 7.5 percent of the 3,503 caregivers in the study died, compared with 9 percent of statistically matched non-caregiving peers.
However, the study did not distinguish between caregivers who looked after a person with dementia and those with other conditions. Previous studies have found high stress and increased mortality among those caring for dementia. Further, not all those studied lived full time with their disabled family member. Some only visited their disabled family member, and slightly more than half provided care for fewer than 14 hours a week. The research is described in the American Journal of Epidemiology. Read the Reuters story by C.E. Huggins.