Relationships & Connections Archive


Pets may help fend off cognitive decline in single seniors

A 2023 study found that pet owners who lived alone had slower rates of cognitive decline compared with people who lived alone but had no pets. Living with a dog or cat may help ease loneliness — an important risk factor for cognitive decline.

Couples often share high blood pressure diagnosis

People whose spouses have high blood pressure may be more likely to have high blood pressure themselves than people whose spouses do not have the condition, according to a 2023 study.

Not just good for the soul

Forgiveness is defined by replacing ill will toward an offender with goodwill. A 2023 study suggests forgiveness boosts mental health by reducing depression and anxiety levels. Other evidence suggests physical benefits as well. Studies indicate forgiveness also eases stress, improves sleep, and lowers blood pressure and heart rate. Being unable to forgive can raise blood pressure, which can affect overall heart health. Some people are innately better at forgiving, but Harvard experts say all people can learn skills that help them forgive.

Overcoming bedroom barriers

Older couples face many challenges as they age that can affect intimacy, including health issues, physical changes, and fluctuations in desire. These can lead to common problems like being stuck in a sexual rut, feeling out of sync, and dealing with low energy. But with communication, planning, and creativity, partners can continue to enjoy a satisfying sexual relationship.

Mood boosters

Everyone goes through periods when they feel low, lethargic, or stressed. These episodes usually pass after a while, but if symptoms linger or begin to interfere with daily life, people should seek professional help. Otherwise, people can take several steps to boost their mood, such as exercising more, spending time outdoors, volunteering, meditating, and keeping a gratitude journal.

Tips to navigate a "sleep divorce"

Some couples find that sleeping in separate rooms helps them get a better night's sleep. But before trying it, it's important to consider compromises to stay in the same room. For example, if one person snores, a doctor visit might be in order, and the other person might try wearing earplugs to better tolerate the sound. If separate bedrooms are the answer, it helps to make both sleeping spaces cozy, schedule time for intimacy, and regularly assess whether the arrangement is working for both partners.

No-cost, low-cost, and bigger splurges for climate-conscious gifts

If you're looking for gifts to give or donate, climate-conscious gifts come in many guises and fit no-cost, low-cost, or big budgets. Gifts can directly support the environment, trim waste and fossil fuel use, or offer creative ways to connect, reuse, recyle — and possibly regift.

Reframing hospice and palliative care

People who choose hospice care forego aggressive medical interventions, but still receive symptom relief and comfort measures. Palliative care differs by offering symptom-focused relief for people who are seriously ill at any stage. Routine hospice care supports patients in their home with medication and visits, while patients who need round-the-clock care can be cared for in either a hospital-based hospice unit, dedicated hospice facility, or nursing home. Patients who choose hospice receive support to carry out end-of-life priorities.

Loneliness vs. isolation: Which one is worse?

Both loneliness and isolation were associated with poor health outcomes in a 2023 study. However, social isolation was a stronger predictor of physical decline and early death, while loneliness was more predictive of mental health issues such as depression.

What to do when driving skills decline

Many people experience a decline in their driving skills as they age. While some choose to stop driving, others resist. Whether it's you or a loved one, planning ahead can help you tackle fixable issues, make transitions easier, and avoid harming yourself or someone else.

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