UWS: Keeping The Balance - Older Men & Healthy Ageing

Older Men Ageing This paper examines factors around what older men consider to be important contributors to health and wellbeing and strategies that older men adopt to meet these needs. It was produced in 2001 for the then NSW Committee On Ageing.

"What do older men consider to be important contributors to their health and wellbeing?..."

To better design and provide health services for older men, it becomes important to develop an understanding of the approaches and philosophies taken by older men in managing the concept of their health and wellbeing.

This paper from 2001 was developed out of a consultation between the NSW Committee on Ageing, Council On The Ageing (COTANSW) and OM:NI.

The paper provides insights in older men's health and wellbeing as measured through:

  • Healthy environments - the ability to remain healthy and engaged with life through community engagement and supportive life contexts and systems
  • Relationships with partner, family, friends and broader social networks
  • Health and wellbeing as defined through a process of balancing physical, mental and spiritual health
  • Equity and access to health for CALD, indigenous, disabled, gay, remote and other potentially marginalised men.

Conclusions For Health Services

This paper provides useful insights for services engaging with older male populations:

  • The nature of health services is that they are frequently administered by females. Proactive services reach out to men and work to understand what they need in terms of services and how they can design the service to accommodate older men's needs.
  • Communicating with men in an accessible way is really important. This is where programs like the Spanner In The Works and the Pit-Stop program have made inroads into engaging with men - relating health to parts of a vehicle makes it engaging and less threatening.
  • To be effective, services must consider an integrated approach towards health and wellbeing. Older men place a great deal of emphasis on balance between different aspects of health including physical, social and mental wellbeing. A singular focus on disease or illness is often found to be off-putting and possibly too direct.