Strong Family Connections can Increase Life Expectancy

“The greatest gift you can give your family and the world is a healthy you” – Joyce Meyer

Over a century’s worth of research underscores the link between life expectancy, physical health and strong, healthy family connections. The researchers behind a new meta-analysis conclude family support can increase survival by up to 50 percent. Moreover, exercising or losing excess weight turns out to be less important to physical health than interpersonal social networks.

The researchers analyzed results of studies going back to the early 1900s with a total of 308,849 participants. Strong family connections were found to help improve health and extend life expectancy by protecting individuals from stressful situations or establishing a standard of healthy living. A significant body of literature shows positive family relationships can mitigate a variety of physiological processes associated with risk of illness, such as high blood pressure and poor immune system functioning.

For seniors, a supportive family member can mean the difference between life and death. When including genetic factors in lifespan estimates, we find family plays a more crucial role now than ever before. Close family connections impact the likelihood of mortality directly. A recent study, presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association, showed that seniors that said they did not feel close to family members beyond their spouses were more than twice as likely to die within the next five years compared to those that did.

Mortality Rate and Life Insurance

A number of factors are implicated in a reduced mortality rate, which life insurance providers reflect. These include marital status, the size of the network of family members, and the level of closeness people feel to family members.

The Role of Genes in Life Expectancy

Life insurance providers recognize that their clients’ family members impact their lifespan not only through social interaction, but also genetically. Genetics help determine whether or not a senior will live beyond the average life span, which is 79 years for men and 83 years for women in Canada. Healthy genes can help protect older adults from heart disease, cancer, and other common illnesses. The above-mentioned study showed a person’s genes account for over a third of what will determine their lifespan. The other factors are the environment and lifestyle.

Studies show people don’t classify family ties in terms of their quality, meaning positive and negative associations are lumped together. We can therefore conclude that the benefit of positive family connections is probably even higher than reported. Generally, the influence of family relationships on mortality is complex and contingent upon the quality of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the health status of the person. A recent study published in the Journal of Social Science & Medicine found that people suffering from chronic illnesses who characterized their relationships with family members as close, but negative and demanding, actually experienced lower mortality rates than those who did not maintain close relationships with family members. Researchers speculate that the participants in this study are being observed closely by spouses and adult children and mandated to take better care of themselves, go for regular checkups, take their medication, or other interactions which they may be qualifying as “negative” and “demanding”.

Clients of Canadian life insurance companies go through underwriting when applying for coverage, which involves assessing the insurance risk. The obvious importance of social well-being for physical health is a part of that. Assessment will likely include inquiries into family and social circles and relationship quality in the near future.

US vs. Canada Life Expectancy

Data of the World Health Organization (WHO) show the average lifespan of Canadians is up to three years longer than that of their southern neighbors. This difference is apparent in a variety of illnesses. According to experts, one of the reasons Canadians live longer is because the quality of medical care is better in Canada than in the United States. Health clinics and insurance providers in the US tend to invest more funds in marketing than in medical staff.

However, this doesn’t seem to be the only factor. Americans in the lowest income brackets reported much more health problems than Canadians and cited cost as the main reason for unmet health needs. Canadians, on the other hand, were more likely to cite waiting times.

How Does Life Insurance Help?

The right choice of a Canadian life insurance company will ensure waiting time is brought down to a minimum in moments of need. Statistics show that a large number of Americans have moved to Canada and Canadians living in the US have moved back home because they have grown tired of fighting with insurance providers over coverage issues.

Life insurance can provide income and financial security for the loved ones you name as beneficiaries, helping them cover final expenses and outstanding debts. In addition to this, it can also support a stable financial plan in your lifetime. Permanent life insurance makes it possible to increase cash value within the insurance policy, which can help you attain financial goals, such as paying for your loved ones’ education or augmenting your retirement income.

What is Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance?

Photo of Life Insurance information

Discuss your options with an insurance professional and find out for sure if Guaranteed Life Insurance is your only choice.

Guaranteed (issue) life insurance is a type of life insurance policy where acceptance is literally guaranteed however there may be restrictions for the first 24 months of the policy i.e. it may only pay for an accident for the first 24 months, after that the policy would pay for any cause of death. This might sound ideal, but it comes at a price, literally. If you’re considering this type of policy, be absolutely sure that it’s truly your best option. An advisor may be able to save you substantially on your premiums with a more traditional form of life insurance, and get you better coverage in the process.

Who is Guaranteed Life Insurance For?

Unfortunately there are some groups of people who are too risky to insure through conventional markets and have to go to a guaranteed life insurance product. These groups have a significantly higher likelihood of dying prematurely. People with serious medical conditions are an example of a segment of the population that insurance companies are unlikely to insure under a standard life insurance policy. For people who find themselves in this category, but still want the protection offered from life insurance – guaranteed life insurance may be there only option. With guaranteed life insurance, coverage in most cases can be obtained with answering just a few medical questions with no medical examination being required.

What’s the downside?

To start, the premiums you pay are significantly higher than other life insurance policies. In some cases it takes a while before the death benefit coverage kicks in. If you die during the first 24 months the insurance company may simply be required to reimburse the premiums instead of paying out the death benefits.

Are you considering guaranteed life insurance because of your medical condition or health issues? It is advisable to first speak with an independent life insurance broker about your options. Often people who get these types of policies assume that they would not be able to get another type of life insurance and end up spending much more on their premiums as a result. Discussing your options with an life insurance broker is the only way to know for certain this is your only choice.

Solutions Financial saves you time and money.