How long do you want to live?

How long do you want to live?

Are you afraid of growing old? What’s your ideal life expectancy? One study revealed some surprising results when it comes to aging. Researchers found that some younger adults are afraid of growing older and would actually prefer to not live past their 80th birthday, around the average life expectancy in the United States.

The unique study, which was published in the journal of Ageing and Society, explored what some young and middle-aged adults think about aging. They found that perception and fear of growing old outweighed the fear of death for many.

In fact, one out of six people believed that living past the average life expectancy burdens them with more negative-related experiences.

“The results, which were controlled for overall happiness, confirmed that having fewer positive old age expectations was associated with the preference to die before reaching average life expectancy. On the contrary, having fewer negative old expectations was associated with the preference to live either somewhat longer or much longer than average life expectancy,” the study authors said in a release.

But those that said they would prefer death over age likely don’t realize life can be rewarding after the age of 80, and living until you are 100 does not have to be a burden.

“I see evidence of youthful seniors every day,” says Sue Grossinger, senior services coordinator at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington, Ill. “Regular exercise for adults well into their 80s is key to living an energetic and healthy life, and I believe it contributes to reduced stress and feelings of control over our lives. Sadness, loss and disability are not a normal part of aging in today’s world.”

One example of a negative association with aging is falls. Grossinger teaches a fall prevention class and says falls shouldn’t be associated with getting older. “Seniors believe that a side effect of getting old is falling,” she says. “They don’t realize that if you exercise and eat healthy, falls can be prevented.”

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About the Author

Liz Donofrio
Liz Donofrio

Liz Donofrio, health enews contributor, is a marketing specialist at Advocate Health Care. As a newlywed, she is happy to be done planning her wedding and enjoying spending time with her husband and new extended family. In her free time, you can find Liz cooking new tasty recipes for her family, attending Chicago sporting events and chasing after her shih tzu-yorkie, Buttons.