120 years old – if you could live that long is that what you would want?
America’s population continues to grow older, with one in five expected to be seniors by the year 2050.
Would you believe there are more than 50,000 centenarians – people at least 100 years old – already? That number continues to rise daily.
By all reports, we are going into our golden years much healthier than have past generations. We are fitter and have the benefit of medical advances which help keep us all well longer.
Every day we learn more ways to improve our lifestyles and diets to prevent chronic disease and are finding ways to stay physically active through the years in activities we enjoy. Not only are we learning, but there are signs even more of us are starting to put what we’ve learned into action and are living healthier lives.
Yes, we are taking better care of ourselves but do we want to live longer? A recent Pew Research study asked who wants to live decades longer.
The results may surprise you. We weren’t quite sure what to expect.
Living to 120 Not Favored or Widely Expected
- Many Americans don’t look with favor on the prospect of living longer, according to the report. Many see the promise of advances in biomedical treatment but feel it could also be a bad thing.
- When asked whether they personally want to live decades longer, 56% of the study respondents said “no” and only 38% said they would want to live that long. One survey question asked if they would want to undergo medical treatments to slow aging.
- The same people were asked if most other people would want the same and the response was different. 68% thought others would want to live longer and only 27% thought they would not.
- A majority of respondents stated that they thought that living longer would put a strain on the country’s natural resources and likely only be available to wealthy individuals due to the cost.
Make no mistake, the researchers point out that there is in reality no way to slow the aging process and extend our life expectancy to 120 years at this time, as the recent cover of National Geographic Magazine suggests with the cover headline “This Baby Will Live to Be 120.” However, research is currently underway to do just that.
Outlook on Aging and Medical Advances
Survey respondents also had interesting things to say regarding their outlook on aging and medical advances.
- Participants were generally optimistic about their own aging process and health in the future. 81% say they are satisfied with the way their life is going and 58% feel that they expect their lives to be even better in ten years.
- More than two thirds of those asked stated that the ideal life expectancy would be between 79 and 100 years. The median of 90 is 11 years longer than the current life expectancy in the United States – 78.7 years.
- Seven in ten Americans are very optimistic about future medical advances including a cure for cancer in the next ten years.
- 32%, said that prolonging life in general is good and not that it will interfere with the natural cycle of life.
- 41% said current medical treatments often create as many problems as they solve.
The bottom line for those surveyed is that three out of four feel that the average person will not live to be 120 years old by 2050. These results are thought to be due in part to the skepticism on medical advancements perhaps due to inadequate knowledge on the status of research but also that everyone will not have access to medical advances due to finances.
Successful Aging Tips for Our Senior Loved Ones
Whether living longer means 120 year old or something less, we hear from many that it’s not the number of years in a life that’s is most important, rather the amount of life in those years.
Here are some tips to make those years better.
- Stay physically active, move more!
- Eat a well-balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables and whole grains including daily lean protein foods.
- Quit smoking!
- Get vaccinated on schedule including pneumonia, seasonal flu, and shingles immunizations.
- Regularly visit your doctor and get your preventative health screenings.
- Stay mentally engaged by participating in a variety of activities, including volunteering and technology.
What do you and your senior loved ones think about your aging process? Are you staying healthy? Do you have a positive outlook compared to your ancestors?
We would love to hear your thoughts.