"Our study has shown that the people who fared the best were the people who leaned into relationships, with family, with friends, with community," Waldinger said.
The study aims to shed light on how "psychosocial variables and biological processes from earlier in life predict health and well-being in late life (80's and 90's), what aspects of childhood and adult experience predict the quality of intimate relationships in late life and how late-life marriage is linked with health and well-being," according to the study's website.
Waldinger is the fourth director of the study since its inception.
"Most of what we know about human life, we know from asking people to remember the past, and as we know, hindsight is anything but 20/20," Waldinger said. "We forget vast amounts of what happens to us in life and sometimes memory is downright creative."
In the past 79 years, the researchers tracked the lives of 724 men, following up with each one on an annual basis to ask about their work, home lives and health.
They not only received questionnaires, Waldinger said, but they were also interviewed in their homes, provided their medical records from their doctors, got their blood drawn, their brains scanned and let the researchers talk to their children.