Fairfax County, Virginia is Number One in Life Expectancy

Mark has lived in Fairfax County for 15 years now. He admits that his home is a bit older and smaller than he would like and that the traffic is sometimes horrendous on the main roads and highways during rush hour, yet he has no plans on moving until he retires, or maybe not even then.

Many of Mark’s neighbors are in their 80’s and even 90’s, and never left the area. At the neighborhood party, Mark caught up with those who are octogenarians, and out of curiosity asked them why they would stay in Fairfax County. Wouldn’t they want to move someplace less expensive with no snow to shovel or leaves to rake? The answer most of the older neighbors gave surprised him a bit. The consensus was that most of the people who have lived in Fairfax County for a long time plan to stay because they are simply “happy here.” Research by SmartAsset concurs with this, and also provides good news about people in this area living longer than anywhere else in the country!

Fairfax Ranks Among the Top Happiest Places to Live

SmartAsset recently released its fifth annual rankings of the happiest places to live. To determine who made the top ten, they analyzed data on 980 U.S. counties, all with populations over 50,000, and considered factors such as poverty, employment opportunities, and economic stability. They also factored in longevity, marriage rates, and healthy lifestyles.

Loudoun County ranked number 2, while Fairfax County tied for number 5. According to the research, Loudoun County residents enjoy relatively long lives, with the average life expectancy in the county being 83.19 years. However, SmartAsset says Fairfax County has the highest life expectancy in the top 10, with residents living an average of 83.73 years!

According to the findings, Fairfax County residents are relatively healthy, both physically and financially. About 83.3% of residents get at least some physical activity and the personal bankruptcy rate is just 0.12 percent.

Want to Live Longer? Here’s What You Can Do
Whether or not you reside in Fairfax county and plan to stay here, there are certain things you can do to better your chances of living a longer life. Most are within your control, while some are not.

1. Having the right genes certainly boosts your chances of making it to the century mark, since longevity runs in families. In fact, according to a recent study, at least 50% of centenarians have relatives or grandparents who reach 100 themselves, according to Boston University’s New England Centenarian Study (NECS), the most comprehensive study of seniors in the world. You can’t control genetics, but there are plenty of things you can do to increase the probability of living to a ripe old age, such as maintaining a healthy lifestyle, diet, and mental attitude.

2. Eat healthy to stay trim: Extra weight puts you at risk for heart attack, diabetes, cancer, and other diseases that can shave years off your life. Try to stay trim, or at least to eat well. Consume fruits and veggies and cut down on salt, fat, and sugar. The National Council on Aging offers helpful tips, guidelines, and videos here.

3. Focus on prevention: Take advantage of preventative care visits, including health screenings for cholesterol levels, colon cancer, diabetes, heart problems, and more, especially since they are covered by Medicare. Physicals are typically not covered by original Medicare, however. Please read our recent article for more details.

4. Feed your head: Challenge yourself! Do crosswords, learn a new language, read a good book, take up a hobby, or attend a lecture or podcast. All these things will keep your mind engaged.

5. Focus on family: Uninterrupted time with family and friends should be a priority for optimal health, happiness, and longevity. In fact, Centenarians overwhelmingly attributed their health and happiness to spending time with their families.

6. Maintain a sense of community: 40% of centenarians said community contributed a great deal to longevity. Whether it is a traditional community, one built upon shared interests or hobbies, or even a digital forum, find a community that suits your interests and get involved.

7. Stay fit: Regular exercise keeps your body strong and is the best insurance against disease and injury. Aim to move about 30 minutes on most days. Check with your healthcare provider if you haven’t been active and want to start an exercise program.

8. Maintain social connections by having close ties with friends and family. Such connections can help ward off depression, boost your body’s immune system and help you live longer.

9. Develop stress-busting habits: Walk, meditate, talk to a friend, or play music. Learn stress management, as it’s one of the keys to disease prevention and longevity.

10. Laughter really is the best medicine: A University of Maryland study found that 15 minutes of laughter a day can improve blood flow to the heart by 50%, which helps reduce heart disease.

11. Be part of a spiritual community: Many large-scale studies show that people who regularly attend religious services or have an active spiritual life live longer, happier, and healthier lives.

12. Be optimistic: One quality most centenarians share is optimism. If you want to live a long life, a good attitude is important.

Planning for the Years that Lie Ahead

As you are taking care of yourself and doing what you can to live longer, it is also a wise idea to plan for your future and for your loved ones. Our firm is dedicated to helping protect seniors preserve dignity, quality of life, and financial security. If you have not done Long-Term Care Planning, Estate Planning, or Incapacity Planning (or had your Planning documents reviewed in the past several years), or if you have a loved one who is nearing the need for long-term care or already receiving long-term care, please call us to make an appointment for a no-cost consultation:

Elder Law Attorney Fairfax: 703-691-1888
Elder Law Attorney Fredericksburg: 540-479-1435
Elder Law Attorney Rockville: 301-519-8041
Elder Law Attorney DC: 202-587-2797

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