Posted on 7 January 2016
A new survey has discovered a fear of frailty likely prevents widespread support of longevity, but if health is combined with years then it could well be a popular option.
Healthy longevity may convince people
According to the new survey, out of 1500 people 74.4% wished to live to 120 or longer if health was guaranteed, but only 57.4% wished to live that long if it wasn’t.
“When we stipulated continued health to the original survey question, responses dramatically favored longer life: only 20% wish to die at age 85, while 42% want an unlimited lifespan. Since funding for aging research depends on its perceived value, better science communication is needed to align public policy with public interests”
Can we improve longevity’s public image?
There are a number of misconceptions the public often has about aging, and a few classic knee jerk reactions that crop up again and again. The first reaction is often a negative one and follows a doomsday, dystopian theme. While there are a number of legitimate concerns and debates that must be addressed if human lifespan is changed significantly, many of the reactions longevity activists experience revolve around a fear of frailty and illness. This is unsurprising, as many people have seen a loved one suffer a drawn out old age with a growing number of problems.
Obviously we aren’t at a point yet where longevity and health are one and the same, but if we could create that? It may go down better than we first thought
Gaining people’s trust
Any new technology or way of doing things takes a while to convince the public. The industrial revolution was controversial and vaccines are still debated even to this day. A great deal of this may be down to the ever widening gulf between the scientific community and the public, who are often left with little in depth knowledge of today’s science; having to place a huge amount of trust in medical science.
All about communication
This result is extremely encouraging, but it’s also a call for the right kind of activism. We need passion, but also need to address people’s concerns and listen to them to guarantee the kind of widespread, solid funding we need. The current budget of The National Institute on Aging is less than 1% of the National Institutes of Health’s overall annual budget, and considering the disastrous affect of aging on disease risk this is highly illogical.
We need to spread the message that longevity isn’t about endless years with no quality of life, it’s about health and quality of life too. Maybe then we’d get more people on board and make things happen
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