COVID-19 leaves bucket lists in limbo: 7 in 10 fear poor health will cut memorable life experiences short

DALLAS — From birthdays to “bucket list” travel vacations, life is full of memorable moments. Unfortunately, health issues sometimes get in the way of our ability to live a full life. As the COVID-19 pandemic keeps spreading, a new survey finds seven in 10 Americans worry poor health will cut memorable moments and milestones short.

The poll of 2,000 American adults reveals a majority of the country are also concerned about their loved ones. Sixty-five percent fear a family member won’t be healthy enough to share various life experiences with them. Millennials (73%) and Generation X (69%), age groups who likely have aging parents, currently fear the most for their family’s health.

Know Diabetes by Heart, an initiative of the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association, commissioned the survey. Respondents with type 2 diabetes (89%), heart disease (90%), or those who have suffered a stroke (87%) overwhelmingly say they worry about having a limited life. Only 58 percent of Americans without those health issues have the same fears.

Missed ‘bucket list’ moments

The study, conducted by OnePoll, finds young adults are actually the most worried about their life experiences. Three in four Americans between 18 and 23 worry health issues will prevent them from traveling, buying a house, or earning a degree — the “top life moments” according to members of Generation Z.

Millennials (ages 24-39), Generation X (40-55), and baby boomers (56 and over) all believe having children is the top life moment. Gen X respondents also value traveling and watching their kids graduate school. Baby boomers are looking forward to grandchildren and retirement.

Although Americans say financial security and free time are important for reaching all these goals, 62 percent believe health is the key.

Coronavirus’ silver lining?

Researchers say one thing the devastating pandemic has done is give Americans a new perspective on the time they spend with family and friends. Eight in 10 feel that daily moments with family are becoming more special. Similarly, 85 percent agree the spread of COVID-19 makes them more grateful to spend time with loved ones.

Health officials say the virus isn’t the only health problems Americans must monitor during the pandemic. They add heart disease and diabetes are serious conditions that can’t be ignored during quarantine.

“If there’s a silver lining in all of this, perhaps it’s a new appreciation for wellness and emphasis on controlling the controllable, the existing threats to our health that we know more about and have more tools to manage,” Eduardo Sanchez of the American Heart Association says in a statement.

“If you want to have the full life you are hoping for on the other side of COVID-19, then resume your doctor appointments,” Robert H. Eckel of the American Diabetes Association adds. “Check your health numbers, like blood glucose – and if you have diabetes your hemoglobin A1c – cholesterol and blood pressure, and get a plan for preventing heart disease and stroke.”

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About the Author

Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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