Magazine article Insight on the News

Most Americans Dread Long Life

Magazine article Insight on the News

Most Americans Dread Long Life

Article excerpt

Growing old sure beats the alternative. Yet a new survey finds most Americans don't share that view, with just one in four hoping to reach age 100. In fact, 63 percent say they would rather not live to be 100, fearing failing health or dwindling financial resources.

"The reality of aging is changing faster than perceptions," says Cheryl Cooper, chief of staff for the American Association of Retired Persons, or AARP, which funded the survey. "Today's adults still seem to believe the stereotype of poverty and frailty in old age" -- despite that older Americans are healthier and more prosperous.

Thomas Perls, author of the book Living to 100 and lead investigator of a centenarian study at Harvard Medical School's Division on Aging, says most Americans who have reached the century mark are healthy well into their mid-90s. Genetic researchers are continuing to unravel the causes of cancer and other killers, aiding the development of drugs that delay or even eliminate diseases of aging.

A normal set of genes should enable humans to routinely reach age 85, says Perls. …

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