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 U.S.

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 who 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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  1. Deborah Van Der Harst December 11, 2017 at 11:23 am · Reply

    What about arthritis, having little to no cartilage for your knees, walking with the aid of a walker, having to use a wheelchair, deafness, blindness, less bladder control, decline in kidney function, loss of mobility, oxygen tanks, etc.

  2. Absolutely I want to go on as long as I can!!! I can also identify with those who may have some medical issues which prevent them from having a potentially super satisfying outcome in living longer. Fortunately, my genes on my mother’s side give every indication of a life well into my 90’s. Three of the past seven generation matrons lived to over 100. My motto is just “keep on keepin’ on” and I cap that off with my salutary offering. = Keep thinking like a proton ALWAYS POSITIVE.”
    Hey, a 85, it’s worked for me so far!!!!! Have a great life !!!

  3. I want a Whole Death just like I want Whole Foods. I want a natural death on God’s time and I want to face it consciously so I can see what happens as much as possible. Several European countries are looking at the role of much better palliative care than they presently provide, because they have found that pain and discomfort lessen as one gets closer to death if basic needs are well met.

  4. It all depends on one’s health, genetics and family support. Many people have a lot more health issues than other people do Some people have helpful families and or a support system to help with things that become more difficult for seniors such as driving, paying the rent, mobility, and cognitive issues. Thinking positive all the time does not prevent those things from happening.

    • I agree with you and most comments I’m the one who’s sisters and brothers who didn’t make it past their 50’s all for listening wholly to what their doctor’s told them to do so I’m 52 in a month I’m looking at less than a decade maybe but what father said rings true do what makes you happy but in moderation and now days it’s very expensive for pills tests co-pays monthly premiums out of pocket costs less and less coverage for so called health care and most doctors prescribe name brand expensive name brand drugs that have very bad side effects or at worse kill you no guarantees or warranties in the medical business for anything it’s all it might work or kill you or nothing at all so all for the medical industry better guarantee with a car or appliances

  5. I see it differently. I have no family, no spouse and no children. I also have been on disability for the last 25 years. No investments, savings, no pension, nothing. So why should I live beyond my current 60s? It does not make sense to burden the system. I have heard horrible stories from those who had to live in nursing homes on SSI disability. These homes are the kind that take the disabled governmental checks and return poor services in return.

    I used to caretake a woman I who was 103 years old. She was bedridden, with sound mind. She Wanted death, but her family continues to do all sorts of artificial means of keeping her alive for their own emotional needs. She will turn 104 soon.

    I believe we should be able to end life in a peaceful, and legally recognized way- especially in our senior years.. Most of all, I wish that society would allow it also- without all the religious and moral baggage attached.

  6. if one feels good, then there is no question. The answer is health. And if you don’t do something good with your life, it doesn’t matter how long it is.

  7. the article title could have been a little more friendly, such as don’t be afraid of aging, or something like that.

  8. Why would you want to, Live in the city, not in a nice suburb. You have no savings, no retirement, no IRA’s or pensions. The cost of living keeps increasing, the government always has their hand out, taxes are going up. What is their to live for ?

  9. See Katy Butler’s fascinating and readable book, “Knocking at Heaven’s Door.” She says that many doctors go to extreme measures to prolong life without considering the quality of that life–is it worth living, free from major health problems, free from pain? Her father’s last years are an example of a life that went on too long.

  10. God said that our life expectancy should be 120 years in Genesis 6:3. He never changed His mind about that for this body, however we have done things to shorten it our selves.

  11. Gloria Picchetti December 12, 2017 at 9:48 am · Reply

    I am 69. I will probably be in debt and poverty for the rest of my life. I used to have lots of money then I was unemployed when Bush the Second trashed the economy for the sake of the wealthy. Even if I ever manage to find a better financial situation this will not be a better world. I hate the world we live in. I totally despise it. I cannot wait until the day I die. Articles like this show me how out of touch the medical industry in the US is. You people just want to make money. I know that because there are hundreds of people around me who have full time jobs with benefits because of my existence. They go shopping, they take vacations, they have nice homes all because of me and other people who are like me.

  12. carol a. sanders December 12, 2017 at 2:30 pm · Reply

    for short cash: food stamps are available, local free food like “Fish”, Safelink for free cell phones and minutes each month, senior services can help you, magic jack for land line ($35. per YEAR), and help with gas and electric. i also have an emergency button to call for help, and a housekeeper 2 hours a day 2 days a week. good luck

  13. The world cannot continue to survive under the condition of our government regulations and the rich societies. They both offers nothing back for our contribution to the overall economics growth. It is the little people that builds the wealth. They keep feeding of the poor and middleclass and take and take until there is nothing left.

  14. I do not want to outlive my mind, my mobility, or my finances.

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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.