Why do women live longer? Is it the “Caring Phenomena”?



Why do women live longer? Is it the “Caring Phenomena”?

by L.T. Force, Ph.D.

Gerontologist


Why do women live longer? This is an interesting question. It wasn’t always that way. In the early 20th Century - men outlived woman. Why? Because there was an increase of death at childbirth - due to infection and complications. And then came along advances in medical science and the advent of antibiotics. Today, women outlive men by approximately 6.5 to 7.0 years. Interesting….but why?

There isn’t a professional journal, conference or podcast in the area of aging and gerontology that you read, attend or listen to - that doesn’t highlight and empathize the important of: “purpose and meaning” in the latter part of life. (Personally, I think: “purpose and meaning” is an important construct present throughout all of the stages of life - it is not a phenomena that begins at the age of 65. This is one of the reasons when presenting my course in the: “Psychology of Aging” I begin my lectures at the prenatal stage - not at the age of 65.

I tell my students, that aging in America is really: “women caring for women”. If you don’t believe that - let’s take a look at Adult Day Care Centers, Nursing Homes and Cruise Ships. In all of those venues, and more, you will find an abundance of older women - with men being absent. In addition, the majority of older married women in the United States will live in widowhood for approximately 7 years…. as a result of outliving their spouses. I also ask my students: “What do they think is the longest relationship in life?” They often provide answers centering on spousal relationships. The answer is: “sisters”. Sisters live the longest together. (My advice, if you have a problem with your sister “work it out” - because you are going to be around a long time together!)

So, the question is: ”Why do women outlive men?” I think it is related to the presence of: “purpose and meaning” - and what I term: “The Caring Phenomena”. So, what is this: The Caring Phenomena”, I reference? I see the : “Caring Phenomena” as a: “constellations of behaviors, thoughts, emotions and actions that are centered and focused on being present for other people”. Is it the: “Power of Connections and Love” that matter? Could be. But it is a phenomena that: “amplifies the importance and value of purpose and meaning - and the impact on extending longevity”.


Want to increase the length and quality of your lifespan? Here is the antidote…be present for others….it’s the power of:

"The Caring Phenomena”….there are life lessons to learn here….and women are the teachers….we just need to listen!