Happiness Leads To Longer Life And Greater Long term Care Risk

Smiling and being happy will generally lead to a longer life but an expert warns it can also result in increased long term care risk.
 
 
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Oct. 31, 2011 - PRLog -- Smile and be happy if you want to live longer according to a new study.
Researchers find that older people who are happy and content have more than a one-third (35%) reduced chance of dying on a typical day.

The researchers from the University College London found that this increased likelihood of living longer remained true even after taking into account such factors as the person's financial situation, and their physical and mental health.

"It's great news that there is a link between how happy people feel and their future mortality," explains Jesse Slome, executive director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance http://www.aaltci.org.  "It is striking how strong the effect was and happy people may want to especially check out long term care insurance because if you live longer, you face a far greater risk."
The researchers studied almost 4,000 individuals between the ages of 52 and 79.  Participants were asked to write down how they felt at four different times during a single day.   While prior studies focused on lifespan and happiness, this study did not rely on how well participants could remember a certain period in their lives, which are often inaccurate.

The researchers asked the participants to write down how they felt at that moment.  Participants were then divided into the happiest group, a middle group and the least happy group.   There were some slight differences in smoking status, wealth and age, the authors report.

The research team reported that other than these differences the results were comparable as far as overall health, employment status, education and ethnic makeup were concerned.

Five years later, the researchers found that 3.6% of those in the happiest group had died compared to 4.6% of those in the middle group who had died.  Some 7.3% of those in the least happy group had died.

"According to the study, individuals in the happiest group were 35% less likely to have died compared to those in the least happy group," Slome concluded.   This was after taking into account several factors that could distort the results, such as chronic disease, physical activity, alcohol intake, depression and age.  "If you live a long life, you are far more likely to need long term care," Slome ends.  "But smile because protection can cost a whole lot less if you take advantage of discounts available today."

Financial planning experts note that most people wait too long to consider their options because the right time to plan is prior to turning age 65 before medical conditions like heart disease are diagnosed or become problematic.  "The sweet spot for http://www.aaltci.org/long-term-care-insurance/ long term care insurance is between ages 52 and 64," Slome adds.  "You do not want to wait until after a doctor has diagnosed even a mild stroke because at that point it will very likely be too late to medically qualify for this protection."

For more information on long term care insurance, visit the Association's Consumer Information center.

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The American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance http://www.aaltci.org is a trade organization. The Association's Consumer Information Center is the #1 source for information and can be accessed at http://www.aaltci.org/long-term-care-insurance
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