11 August 2006

Have Faith and Get Married

....to live a long life?
Faith and spirituality were cited most often by people over the age of 100 as the source of their longevity, according to a survey sponsored by a unit of UnitedHealth Group.

In a survey of 100 people between the ages of 100 and 104, 23 percent said faith rather than genes and good medical care were responsible for their long life.

Other factors given included hard work, a healthy diet and "living a good, clean life."

[SOURCE: Reuters, 10 Aug 2006 ]

Thirty percent (30%) of centenarians surveyed said having a family is their "most sarisfying achievement," and this finding seems to be validated by another report concerning the association of being married and living longer:
Those who had never married were at greater risk than those who were separated or divorced. Indeed, the risks of being never married, in terms of odds, rival the risks of having increased blood pressure or high cholesterol.

Never-marrieds were 58 percent more likely to have died than peers who were married and living with their spouse in 1989.

Those who had been widowed were almost 40 percent more likely to die, and those who had been divorced or separated were 27 percent more likely to die.

[SOURCE: BBC News, 10 Aug 2006 ]

Loneliness shortens your life? What do you think?

17 reactions:

Moof said...

"Loneliness shortens your life? What do you think?"

Lack of faith can be a "loneliness." A person who has had faith, and lost it, feels an absence. Where once they had "Someone" inside of their heads they could speak with, they now realize that there's no one in there - but themselves. That's a whole new level of lonely ...

And then, of course, lacking human touch. Babies who are deprived of human touch fail to thrive. They "die from loneliness."

I don't believe we're immune to the effects of loneliness as we age, although we learn different ways to cope with it. I do believe that it can, indeed, shorten your life.

Sidney said...

Not sure. I still believe you need the right genes to go over the cap of the 90 years. But indeed what is the purpose of being old if your lonely.
I am happy and I got everything in life but alas I have not the right genes to make it to that old age :-(
Too bad, you can't have it all !

ipanema said...

"Having a family is their most satisfying avhievement".

Amen to that. What can be fulfilling than living through all of life's graces and tribulations with your own flesh and blood. Though not at all perfect, it is in the journey through life that renders satisfaction.

Though there are some people who are not really cut for married life, they find happiness in other things they value. Through personal experience I may add that having a partner is not enough. But having children made me more happy. I am able to share more of myself to my children for obvious reasons. Their needs differ, still equally reliant and vital.

Dr. Emer said...

MOOF: We got to have someone to grow old with.... :)

SIDNEY: Yes, good genes, right diet, exercise, and being happy. That's about the right formula, I think. ;)

IPANEMA: I also agree with that. I have friends who never married but are happy with their lives and still living. :)

duke said...

Just having someone to grow old with you makes a difference. It can be a factor in living longer!

TK said...

I really don't know if it can make one live longer... but having great sex with your wife makes life worth it. I'm sticking to this statement-- even if it's not evidence based.

ipanema said...

TK, your statement reminds me of a news article the other day about an Indian man who became father at 88 y.o. His secret? Making love everyday. Best time? 2-4 a.m. I think you can count him as living proof of your statement. :)

bayi said...

I am glad that the lifestyle I have chosen is finally endorsed scientifically and medically. :)

JMom said...

Now all you need is to set a date, and you'll have all the bases covered ;-)

Dr. Emer said...

Happiness sure makes the day. But like Sidney, I think good genes and the right lifestyle make the perfect recipe for a longer life.

Set a date, Jmom? Uh-oh. :)

Tani said...

not if you take care of yourself very well. my grandmother is an example.

bing said...

"Having a family is their most satisfying avhievement".

i second the motion. it helps having one or two to share one's dreams and frustrations, too. isnt it that some of the illnesses come from negative emotions?

torn said...

I’m going to take a slightly different tack and say that I think the Reuters “survey” is another completely unscientific exercise yielding worthless findings. If you ask married people near to death *of course* most of them are going to justify the lifestyle choices they have taken. How likely is it that they are going to say “For 80 years I have been living a lie! All my life I have wished I had not got married and had had more fun”. And as for faith — don’t you think that might have something to do with the fact that these people are all near death and therefore taking Pascal’s wager?

“Pascal -- French philosopher, scientist, mathematician and probability theorist (1623-1662) -- argues that if we don't know whether God exists then we should play it safe rather than risk being sorry.” (http://www.iep.utm.edu/p/pasc-wag.htm)

rolly said...

Let's put it this way. What good is a long life if it's lonely?

ipanema said...

So this is the survey that you've talked about in my blog. I see it now.

Firstly, it is NOT a Reuters survey. As in any articles picked up by any news agencies, like this sponsored by a unit of UnitedHealth Group (read last paragraph),we, the readers don't have access to raw data as to how questionnaires were constructed. What we have are the results. We base our comments on a particular news report presented to the media, thus a variation in our opinions based on what is written .

And as for faith — don’t you think that might have something to do with the fact that these people are all near death and therefore taking Pascal’s wager?

Again, we don't know if these people are all near death situation. Yes, the age group is between 100-104 y.o. but there was no mention in any part of the article that they were of near death status.

Still, according to the survey,
faith and spirituality were cited most often by people over the age of 100 as the source of their longevity.


torn said...

Well, there may be people over 100 who are optimistic enough to feel they not near death, but surely they are a tiny minority?! I'm not half way there yet and I feel like death most mornings!

I agree, the survey wasn't actually carried out by Reuters, I just called it the Reuters survey to differentiate it from the other one in the post (reported by the BBC).

My point is quite a simple one. You can never rely on people to tell you the truth in surveys like this, especially not when to do so might be to repudiate their whole life.

No doubt for many of the respondents raising a family *was" their greatest achievement and source of happiness. Still, I can't believe that is the case for everyone -- I am quite sure that a lot of people actually rather regret getting married and having kids at all. But are they going to admit that to an interviewer? Are they going to say "You ask me to sum up my my life. It's been a failure. I never did the things I wanted to do because I was chained to my family"? I doubt it, so we end up with a nice tidy and anodyne "result" -- which is that happiness is living a good Christian life in the bosom of your family. I don't know any 100-year-olds, but when I look around me that obviously isn't the case for everyone.

Dr. Emer said...

'Good point you have there, Torn. I myself am not really a fan of surveys. At best, surveys provide only a glimpse of what the real situation is. It is not really that scientific because people can always lie or twist the truth. The best studies are still the case-control and experimental types where every variable can be scrutinized and controlled.

I guess we will never know the truth. Are happily-married couples with great happy families the majority out there, or are they the endangered types? What we can do best is speculate, Torn. While I agree that being happy is one of the key factors in having a long life, I also believe it must be complemented by other significant factors I already mentioned above --- good genes and a healthy lifestyle.

Happiness is where your heart is. It is a personal matter, and nobody can lie to himself. He has to either be happy or not. But it is just one good factor. You need the other factors as well if your target age is over a hundred.