In 1900, life expectancy in much of the industrialized world was less than 50 years. Today, living well into one’s 70s, 80s and beyond is not at all unusual. “How long will I live?” Most of us have thought about that question, more often as we get older. The answer, of course, is unknowable. There are some things we can do to help prolong our lives, such as taking care of ourselves. Our genes offer clues to how long we may live, but we have no control over them. We won’t know for sure how long we’ll live, at least not until our time is up.

We’re also concerned about how well we’ll live during retirement. We have some control over that through how we take care of ourselves. But it is also affected by our financial resources and our social network of family and friends, over which we have some measure of control.

Mark Berg is a member of the Pennsylvania Council on Aging, and chairman of the Adams County Office for Aging’s Citizens Advisory Council. His email address is

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