Close relationships are the key to health and happiness

February 3, 2023 • Uncategorized

Asked what older adults can do to foster heart health, Janice Knebl, DO, MBA, geriatrician, Regent Professor at the HSC Center for Older Adults, and Chief Medical Officer for HSC Health, pointed to recent findings about the importance of close relationships to health, happiness and longevity.

“Longitudinal studies, such as the Harvard Study of Adult Development, have greatly enhanced our understanding of the important factors contributing to long-term health and happiness,” says Dr. Knebl. In this longitudinal study, scientists tracked an original group of 724 men and more than 1,300 of their male and female descendants for 85 years in order to find out what really keeps people happy and healthy. Satisfying personal relationships and time that couples spend in each other’s company are bigger predictors of physical health, mental health and longevity in old age than career achievement, diet or exercise. “This and related studies demonstrate the enduring importance of good relationships to overall health and well-being.”
“The important message is to invest in our relationships as a valuable tool for sustaining health and happiness as we age,” explains Dr. Knebl. “The cultivation of good relationships throughout our life span is achievable by all of us and necessary for health and happiness.”