Community Blog

Living Longer – Is it All in the Genes?

By Ketan Patel

As you care for your aging parents, you may be wondering what is in store for you at that age. If your parents live to be octogenarians, does that mean that you will live well into your eighties or even longer?

We tend to believe that longevity is all in the genes, but recent research indicates that that may not be the case. According to a study conducted by scientists at MIT, Columbia, Harvard and the NY Genome Center, it turns out that genetics count plays a small part in predicting how long people will live. It turns out that lifestyle and environment have a far greater effect on longevity. A home healthcare aide can help your loved one follow healthy lifestyle choices.

Genes and Longevity

Genetics contribute to longevity, but only around 15%, according to an article in Science magazine. Environmental and lifestyle influences have a much stronger impact on how long a person will live. Even so, it is important to understand your family history to reduce the chance of developing a disorder like heart disease and maximize your life expectancy. Studies now indicate that genes contribute to a trait in an individual independently of the effects of other genes.

Lifestyle Choices for a Longer Life

There are many things you can do to help our bodies live longer and enjoy life. You have probably heard about some of these lifestyle choices, but not all.

  • Eat Your Fruits and Veggies: The fiber and vitamins in fresh fruits and vegetables can lower your risk of developing diseases like heart disease, and may decrease your risk of cancer.
  • Exercise: Exercise, even a 30 minute walk a day, can add years to your life. So shut off the TV and get out there and exercise.
  • Ditch the Cigarettes: Studies show that when you quit smoking you can add years to your life and increase the odds of surviving, even if you already have lung damage, COPD or early lung cancer.
  • Adopt a Pet: Pets can lower your blood pressure, triglycerides and cholesterol levels, thereby reducing your risk of coronary heart disease and stroke. You can avoid obesity by staying active while walking your dog.
  • Have a Laugh: A study conducted at the Albert Einstein School of Medicine in New York that studied people who lived to be 100 concluded that most of them had a positive attitude. Laughter decreases blood pressure, lowers stress and reduces blood sugars. As an added bonus, laughter can also dull pain, an important benefit for older folks.
  • Eat Nuts: Nuts are high in fiber, antioxidants and unsaturated fatty acids so they lower your risk of developing heart disease. But they are high in calories, so eat just a handful.

An In-Home Caregiver Can Help

An in-home caregiver can help your loved one stay on track with lifestyle choices that can lead to a longer and stronger life. Home Helpers of South Shore is owned and operated by a compassionate health professional with a strong understanding of the needs of aging seniors. Contact Home Helpers to help your aging loved one.

Please fill out the form on the left and we will get in touch with you about setting up in-home health care, or call us at 781-585-1244 to determine the plan that is right for you.

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Abington , Braintree , Brockton , Buzzards Bay , Carver , Cohasset, Dighton , Duxbury , Falmouth , Halifax , Hanson , Hingham , Holbrook , Hull , Humarock , Kingston , Lakeville , Marshfield , Mashpee , Middleboro , Norwell , Pembroke , Plymouth , Plympton , Quincy , Randolph , Rockland , Sandwich , Scituate , Taunton , Wareham , Weymouth , Whitman