First, I'm taking seriously Roberta's hypothetical, namely, that this test reliably predicts real death within 5 years, not just probability, and that it is accurate. And yes, I would take it.
I'm a planner, and anything that improves my planning, I want to know. If the test were negative ("you're going to live at least another 5 years barring an accidental event such as being struck by lightning"), I would find it reassuring. I would enjoy life much as I now do, conserve my funds, and plan to take the test again in 5 years. If it were positive ("you have less than five years to live"), I would find it liberating. I know how much savings I have, and at age 72, I don't know if I need it to last one year or 25 years. If I knew it had to last a maximum of 5 more years, I could easily maintain my current standard of living and still have money to leave to my heirs. I'd spend no time worrying about how much is left, and do some things still on my bucket list sooner rather than later. I'd certainly not spend valuable time saving relatively small amounts of money -- cancel the garage sale! -- but would hire people to do stuff I don't like to do. And, like several other responders, I'd certainly spend more time with loved ones, tell them often how much they mean to me, and show them more patience than I would if I expected to be around them longer.
I would not take the death test. I am a cancer survivor and have had a kidney transplant. Each day is a gift that I treasure and I try to live accordingly.
I would travel as much as possible and do whatever I wish and eat whatever I wish. That is, if I learned that changing my habits would not help deter the end.
The "Death Test" would hold a certain mystique for me and as a result, I would probably take it. If the prediction were positive, that is, if it predicted my end of life was quickly approaching, there is really nothing I would change in my lifestyle or outlook because I already feel that I am in the "Mode of Impending Change." Although I feel good and am in reasonable health at age 74, I can "feel" the end of an age coming upon me and leading me into another. It's as if the Cosmic Consciousness has touched my inner being and is drawing me, ever so gently through time and space. As an author and Genealogy Consultant, I am conveying "my wealth of worthless information," generally regarded as experience and insight, to those who buy my books, and I am enjoying the satisfaction of leaving my mark on the world. Whether I will be able to "Tell All" before I am called is not known. So, I keep my head down and the nose to the grindstone to produce what I can, while there is still time to do so. Thanks for sharing...
Even though I do believe in the value of testing for genetic propensities so that one can be proactive in making positive life and health choices, I would not take such a "death test". Having survived 4 near death episodes in my life, with the last one 3 years ago, I personally KNOW there are factors in what we call life that absolutely defy scientific measurement. If one lives life daily with the awareness that life is a always "fragile gift", then death cannot rob us of even one minute of precious life .......
Well I would hope it's better than the tests I have taken so far. Didn't really get any thing useful from all the testing I have done to date.
I would take the test and if there was a problem I would try to seek medical attention for it. If there were no medical treatments available I would probably wish I hadn't taken the test. My late and great friend Aleda would certainly have taken the test. Like you, she never met a test she wouldn't take,.
I would definitely take the test. I am assuming that the test is only going to tell someone whether they are genetically pre-disposed to a certain ailment that statistically could end their life in five years. Hopefully with that knowledge in hand I could take whatever steps or changes need to be made to lessen the chances of developing the disease or condition during the next five years.
As someone who was diagnosed with cancer back in 1995, I can attest to the fact that the first thing that anyone diagnosed with any disease should do is to throw away any book that provides statistics regarding the five year survival rate. Everyone is an individual and not a statistic. Unless a disease has a 0% survival rate, there is always a chance to beat it.
Except for a few, such as the test for breast cancer that pushes many people into having preventive (and possibly unnecessary) mastectomies, I think it would cause unnecessary worry and possibly surgery. I can't see what it would accomplish that a normally healthy lifestyle and regular checkups can't do. My cancer diagnosis years ago came as a shock not because I had cancer, but it was not a type I expected. I am 83 years old and have a family history of cancer and heart trouble, and four out of five of my immediate family members have survived cancer because of early detection. Three of my grandparents lived past 80; the other was killed in a cyclone. I am not ruling out tests for specific illnesses. They are important.
I would retire and immediately begin focusing even more on tracing my ancestry back to Ireland in order to share with my family my findings. I might even take them to Ireland on one of my return trips!
I would make sure any loose ends were tied up, eat more thin mints, smell more roses, and say I love your more often, (all of which I COULD do without knowing)
If I took the test and it said I would die within 5 years, I would retire early so as to focus on family and friends. But if, after all, I lived longer, what would I do if I had used up all my savings? How foolish would that be? I think it is best to get my priorities straight, focus on what is important, and still act fiscally wise. And to never act like I'm dying until death surprises me.