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A man in your 60s? What you need to know and do now about your health

Single greatest mental health issue for men in their 60s is retirement, says expert

Our bodies and our minds change as we go through life. Every decade brings its own physical and mental needs and challenges. So how do we go about meeting each one?

Nutrition and alcohol

Age-related diabetes is a significant factor for men in their middle years, warns consultant nutritionist Gaye Godkin – so watch your weight, she counsels.

If you are “apple-shaped” with a lot of fat around the middle, you’re at greater risk of developing type two diabetes, she warns.

If this is the case, advises Godkin, lose weight and cut back on your carbohydrate and sugar intake, ensuring you consume no more than six teaspoons a day.


What you need

“If you drink alcohol, significantly reduce your consumption.

“Also start eating plenty of oily fish and increase the amount of plant fibre in your diet – this is found in everything from wheat bran to the skins of fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, and wholegrain foods.”

Joint health is an issue at this age, says Godkin, and this is caused by an inflammation of the immune system, so cut out processed meat, sugars and confectionery.

“Reduce your intake of white breads and ensure you have good gut health by increasing the level of fibre in your diet through increasing your consumption of fruit and vegetables.

“Eat foods high in beta-carotene such as carrots, butternut squash and green leafy vegetables.”

Potential health issues

The prostate is a significant health issue for men in this age group, says Cork GP and lifestyle medicine expert, Dr Fiona O’Reilly.

“The most common condition is a benign enlargement of the prostate, which can cause bladder difficulties. For example, a man may experience a significant increase in the frequency of need to pass small amounts of urine, which can lead to disrupted sleep and elevated stress levels during the day as many sufferers feel they have to be near a toilet at all times.”

See your doctor, she recommends, because this condition can be treated by medication, and, if required, surgery.

Screening for prostate cancer is also very important because this condition does not always have symptoms.

“Screening involves a simple blood test called the PSA. If the prostate cancer is caught early, it is very treatable. An internal examination will also be carried out at the same time to ensure your prostate is healthy.”

A big issue for men in their 60s that is often not spoken about, emphasises O’Reilly, is the psychological effects arising from the economic crash of 2008.

“This has affected some previously well-off males in their 60s who are at retirement age but whose pensions were very badly hit.

“This is a cause of significant stress and depression, as well as an unjustified sense of shame. It can really affect a man’s mental health and his sense of being a good provider,” she says, adding that in her experience, this ongoing chronic stress is linked to high blood pressure and increased risk of heart attack and stroke.


As men age, they experience muscle loss due to a natural reduction in testosterone levels, explains Dr Brian Higgins, Galway GP and TV3's in-house doctor.

“Counteract this with resistance training or weight lifting to maintain your muscle mass and keep your metabolism high to avoid weight gain,” he advises.

Mental wellbeing

The single greatest mental health issue for men in their 60s is retirement, believes Dr Harry Barry – GP, mental health expert and best-selling author.

“When they retire men can lose both their raison d’etre and their work colleagues, and they can feel lost as a result. Many can become withdrawn, anxious and depressed.”

It’s good to prepare gradually for retirement he says. “Join clubs and organisations such as your local Men’s Shed. Take up a part-time job and look into new interests and hobbies.”

Tip for making the most of your decade

Take the time to mentally prepare for retirement, urges Dr Higgins.

“I find that a lot of men become very unwell post-retirement,” he observes.

“This is partly psychological, as they can tend to lose their sense of identity after retirement because work is such a big part of their lives.

“My advice is to plan ahead and ensure you have something to get up for in the morning – whether it’s voluntary work, starting your own business or a good hobby – find your passion!”

Health & Fitness advice through the Decades
- Women in their 20s
- Men in their 20s
- Women in their 30s
- Men in their 30s
- Women in their 40s
- Men in their 40s
- Women in their 50s
- Men in their 50s
- Women in their 60s
- Men in their 60s

- Women in their 70s
- Men in their 70s

- Women in their 80s
- Men in their 80s