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Does widowhood really affect life expectancy?

Time:2022-09-26 02:27:09 source:psychiatricethics.com author:Mental disorder Read:808次
Does widowhood really affect life expectancy?

Queen Elizabeth II died on September 8 at the age of 96. Born in April 1926 and crowned on June 2, 1953, Queen Elizabeth II is Britain's longest-reigning monarch and the second-longest-reigning modern monarch in the world. During her 70 years in office, she has personally witnessed many important historical events such as World War II and the return of Hong Kong. For decades, Queen Elizabeth II has maintained an elegant and calm image when attending public events, and her body is also very healthy. But since the death of her husband Prince Philip in April last year, her public activities have been significantly reduced, and even a series of grand celebrations celebrating her 70th anniversary on the throne in June this year were unable to attend due to physical discomfort. In daily life, widowed in old age is a very common phenomenon. After all, the older you get, the worse your health will inevitably get. But we often find that once the elderly are widowed, their health will drop sharply, and they will even follow their spouses quickly. In fact, there is indeed a significant relationship between widowhood and the death risk of the elderly. The death risk of long-term widowed elderly is significantly higher than that of long-term widowed elderly. In the early stage of widowhood, the death risk of the elderly will also increase greatly.

Losing Your Wife, Losing Your Health

Numerous studies have confirmed that married people are more likely to be married than widowed, divorced, or never married People have a lower risk of death. After losing a spouse, a person's risk of death increases significantly. First, from the perspective of the dead person, when he/she is lonely and sad, various endocrine glands in the body are disturbed, resulting in dysfunction of internal organs. Of the adverse effects on man, the most short-lived death is a bad state of mind. Because loneliness, depression can lead to mental breakdown, thereby accelerating the process of death. Second, the common living environment and lifestyle of husband and wife may make husband and wife suffer from the same chronic diseases, and the death risk is relatively similar. After one party dies, the other party may also die soon due to similar reasons. Third, surviving mortality risk may also arise from the physical and psychological stress of caring for a dying partner or his death, which can exacerbate pre-existing chronic diseases and lead to complications that increase the risk of death. In addition, adjusting to a new role, a new self-identity, requires a process that may have long-term effects on health. Fourth, while the loss of a spouse affects both men and women, the increased risk of death for men is slightly greater than for women. Because men and women play different roles in the family, men benefit more from marriage than women and experience greater "shock" and maladjustment when they lose their spouse, which reduces their health. The sudden death of a spouse may make the surviving person face a lot of discomfort in life and must undertake some life tasks that have never been undertaken before. For example, if the deceased party is responsible for buying vegetables, cooking, and washing clothes before death, the death will cause the surviving party to face a lot of life care problems, and this lifestyle change may bring great discomfort and psychological stress, thereby increasing the risk of death. On the other hand, if the surviving party has better conditions in all aspects, it is more likely to remarry and receive care, and the health will not drop too much. People who remain widowed for a long time are more likely to have poor physical health or poor socioeconomic conditions, which are also reasons for the increased risk of death. However, compared with the younger elderly, the impact of widowhood on the health of the elderly over 80 years will be smaller and smaller, and the widowhood of the elderly female elderly does not even significantly affect their mortality risk. This is because with the increase of age, especially at the advanced stage, widowhood is psychologically prepared, and the psychological impact is weaker than that of young and old people, and the increased risk of death is not so great. In addition, if the elderly are in institutional care (in a nursing home or hired a nanny), even if it is only started for 3 to 4 weeks, the risk of death from widowhood can be reduced.

Senior remarriage improves health?

If widowed will reduce the health status and life expectancy of the elderly, will finding an "old companion" to get married will solve the problem? After the widowed elderly remarry, their daily life, economic security and spiritual comfort can be significantly improved. Elderly people who are in poor health and cannot take care of themselves in daily life can receive the life care provided by their new spouses and lack sufficient financial resources. The source of widowed elderly people, especially female widowed elderly people, can obtain financial security from their spouses in terms of pension, medical care and living expenses. , remarriage does have a significant effect on the negative emotions of widowed elderly. But the reality is that the remarriage of the elderly is often accompanied by various conflicts: the first is interference from children, some children are bound by traditional social and cultural concepts, and they are worried that their stepfather/stepmother will divide their share of property inheritance, or add new support These children strongly oppose the remarriage of their elderly parents. The elderly face greater social pressure after remarriage, tend to be in a tense state with their children, increase family conflicts, and have a significant negative impact on their mental health. Second, remarriage in old age is often based on a "utilitarian" standpoint. For example, the elderly in poor health hope to find a wife to take care of themselves, and the elderly who lack sufficient sources of living expenses hope to find a partner with financial strength. This kind of "utilitarianism" The remarriage of most people is often of the "flash marriage" type. There is a lack of sufficient understanding before marriage, and there are many conflicts in personality and living habits during the "running-in" period after marriage, which also reduces the effect of marriage on the improvement of negative emotions in the elderly to a certain extent. . So, remarriage largely offsets this improvement in mental health, and the actual effect is not as good as imagined. If you really want widowed parents to spend their old age in peace, health and longevity, those who are children should be less opposed and actively match. Single elderly people who have no children around them must be more aware of self-care in many major and small things in life, such as controlling the heat during exercise, and not overworked; pay attention to bring self-help medicines when going out; change clothes appropriately when the weather changes And so on, so as to ensure your own health and safety. #Queen Elizabeth II dies at 96

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