People put a lot of stock in quantity. They want more. More stuff, more food, more.
But what about quality? Is more food at a local chain restaurant really what you want?
It’s the same with age. There is so much emphasis on how long a person wants to live. But rarely are their conversations around quality. Does a person presented with the potential of chronic pain or dementia want to be kept alive for as long as possible?
That’s what a recent study sought to determine. It asked people how long they wanted to live.
The study asked 825 people aged 60 or older in Norway between 2017 and 2019 what age they would like to live to. The answer was about 91 and-a-half.
Researchers chose Norway because it has a relatively high life expectancy.
Older participants, perhaps understandably, had a higher preferred life expectancy (PLR) than younger ones.
Quality of life, however, played a role in decision-making. When participants were faced with hypothetical chronic ailments, like dementia and chronic pain, the desire to live longer was significantly shorter.
This is interesting because there is so much focus on extending life rather than improving quality, or even asking individuals how long they might like to live. Dementia and chronic pain, after all, are very daunting. The study revealed dementia was the top condition that led people to prefer a shorter life.
So, how can you live a long and high-quality life? While nothing is guaranteed, some things can help reduce the risk of chronic illness. Living an active lifestyle, staying engaged with social circles, and eating a healthful diet that’s low in processed foods and high in whole foods, fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and fresh protein can all help.
When you think about your life, think about more than just how long. Rather, try to shift your focus to “how well.”