Another example of things we intuitively feel and science has finally proved. Taking care of someone else is good for your health, probably because caregiving releases oxytocin. This is something I put in my book without scientific backup.
The University of Michigan study by Stephanie Brown tracked the health and longevity of couples over 70 living together. (The article is by HealthDay News Service, reprinted on Forbes.com.)
Brown said that she thinks the health benefit comes from reduced stress due to the release of oxytocin. They didn't test the couples' blood, so I guess this remains conjectural. I don't see why these health benefits wouldn't extend to someone taking care of an older relative, a horse, etc.