On its surface level, it’s easy to say that longevity is just another synonym for life expectancy. The reality, however, is that there’s a lot more to longevity than what you might initially think.
Firstly, there’s much more going on than just life expectancy. On a global level, we see a pattern of people’s lifespans going up. However, at the same time, we witness a pattern of people spending longer amounts of their late life sick or in hospital care. Therefore, the extended life expectancy doesn’t really add up to anything; you aren’t living if your body is debilitated! Because of this, the focus of longevity is not on lifespan but rather on “healthspan”; healthspan is a word used to define the amount of time both alive and healthy. This is makes healthspan or health expectancy a better match for the definition of longevity.
Secondly, there’s a lot of different types of longevity “health”. When we think of the word health, we typically think physical health; staying cancer-free, being able to move around adequately, etc. However, there are two other often neglected parts of longevity health: mental longevity and financial longevity. Mental longevity is simple enough; it is the mental equivalent to physical health. This measures how long you can retain your memory, happiness, etc. Financial longevity, on the other hand, is a uniquely modern issue in the longevity space. This primarily revolves around the retirement problem: when is the right time to retire, how should you save, how long should you save, etc.
Have more questions on longevity, or want to start working on improving it for yourself? Shanah can help. Shanah is an accessible habit tracker dedicated to helping you make incremental improvements to your healthspan. You can learn more by going to the “How It Works” page on this blog.