Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

Manage your health in your 60s

9-minute read

Now that you have reached your 60s, here are some recommendations to help you prevent health conditions that are more common at this age.

Health screenings tests

Any screening tests you should have will depend on your health. Talk to your doctor about what exactly you need, but most healthy people in their 60s have the following tests.

Every year

Every 2 years

Every 3 years

Every 5 years

At regular intervals

FIND A HEALTH SERVICE — The Service Finder can help you find doctors, pharmacies, hospitals and other health services.

Lifestyle recommendations

Some risk factors can contribute to certain diseases in your 60s, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, kidney disease and cancer. To help you stay healthy:

Quit smoking

You can get support to quit smoking from your doctor who may also give you medication, or you can try a service such as Quit Now or Quitline.

Eat healthily

It is important to have a balanced diet, especially in your 60s, to help maintain muscle strength and stay within a healthy weight range.

You should enjoy a wide variety of nutritious foods every day, including fruit and vegetables, grains, lean meats, poultry and fish, as well as milk, yoghurt and cheese. Limit foods containing saturated fat, added salt and sugar, and alcohol.

Limit alcohol

Drink no more than 10 standard drinks a week and no more than 4 standard drinks on any one day.

When you are older you have an increased risk of harm from drinking alcohol. If you have a condition that can get worse with alcohol, your doctor may advise you not to drink.

Be physically active

If you are generally fit and are reasonably mobile, aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity on most, preferably all, days of the week. Moderate-intensity physical activity is an activity that is energetic and raises your heart rate but doesn't make you too breathless, such as fast walking.

It is better to do some physical activity in your 60s than none at all. You can start exercising and gradually increase the amount you do and how often you do it.

Choose strength, balance and flexibility exercises as well. These will help you to maintain stronger muscles, bones and reduce your risk of falls, which are all important as you get older.

ARE YOU AT RISK? — Are you at risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease or kidney disease? Use the Risk Checker to find out.

Preventing health problems

The following health problems may become more common as you get older, especially if you have other risk factors. However, there are also some things you can do in your 60s to help prevent these conditions from developing.

Cardiovascular disease

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) includes heart disease, stroke and blood vessel disease of the limbs (periphery)s.

You should have an assessment of CVD risk every 2 years unless your doctor already knows you are high risk. Your doctor may ask you questions and test your blood pressure and cholesterol as well as checking for other health conditions.

You can help prevent CVD by following the healthy lifestyle recommendations above, as well as reducing high blood pressure and cholesterol.

High blood pressure

You should have a blood pressure test every 2 years, or 6 to 12 months if you have a moderate risk of CVD and 6 to 12 weeks if your risk is high.

Apart from the above diet and exercise recommendations, other ways to prevent high blood pressure include:

  • maintaining a waist measurement of less than 94cm for men and less than 80cm for women
  • limiting salt to 5mg per day, or 4mg if you have high blood pressure (this tool will help you check the amount of salt in processed food)

Cholesterol and lipids

It's recommended you have your cholesterol and lipids checked every 5 years with a blood test, or every 1 to 2 years if you have a higher risk of CVD.

You can help maintain a healthy cholesterol level with exercise and a healthy diet.

Type 2 diabetes

In your 60s you should be tested every 3 years to see if you have type 2 diabetes, or every 12 months if you are at increased risk. Your doctor will organise a blood test to check your glucose level.

The above exercise, diet and weight recommendations can help prevent type 2 diabetes.


If you are at high risk of a stroke your doctor should assess you every 12 months.

The assessment may involve a series of questions and tests for CVD risk factors including atrial fibrillation. Medicines may be available for these conditions if you have them.


The following vaccinations are advised for people in their 60s:

  • herpes zoster (shingles) — once, from 60 years old (available free on the vaccination schedule from ages 70 to 79)
  • influenza — each year, from 65 years old (available free on the vaccination schedule)

Talk to your doctor about whether you need a booster of dTpa (diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough) if your last vaccination was more than 10 years ago.

Kidney disease

Kidney disease should be assessed every 1 to 2 years if you are at high risk. Risk factors can be similar to CVD or could involve an injury to your kidney.

Your doctor may ask you a series of questions as well as checking your blood pressure and doing a urine test. You may need to take medicine to lower your blood pressure if it is high.

Breast cancer

A mammogram is recommended every 2 years for women at lower risk from breast cancer.

Women at higher risk may have an individual program developed by their doctor.

You should be familiar with the look and feel of your breasts and should see your doctor straight away if you see or feel any unusual changes.

Skin cancer

If you are in your 60s, your doctor may check your skin even if you have an appointment for another reason. If you are at high risk for skin cancer you should have a complete skin check every 6 to 12 months.

Ensure that you 'slip, slop, slap, seek and slide' to protect your skin from future sun damage.

Cervical cancer

To test for cervical cancer, women should have a cervical screening test 2 years after their last Pap test. After that, if your result is normal they will only need to have the cervical screening test every 5 years.

This screening test for HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) has replaced the previous Pap test and is more accurate. However, the procedure to collect the sample is the same as a Pap test.

Colorectal (bowel or colon) cancer

Every 2 years, it is recommended you have a test for bowel cancer using a Faecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT), even if you have no symptoms or family history of bowel cancer.

The National Bowel Cancer Screening Program will send you a free FOBT every 2 years. You can take a sample of your faeces (poo) yourself.

Depending on your results, your doctor may recommend that you have a colonoscopy.

Osteoporosis and fracture

Osteoporosis occurs when bones lose minerals and become more brittle, putting them at risk of fractures.

Your doctor may ask you screening questions every 12 months to assess your risk. If you are high risk or experience a fracture following a small bump or fall, this should be investigated further. This involves a simple scan with a machine, taking around 10 to 15 minutes.

To help prevent osteoporosis, ensure you have 1,300mg of calcium per day if you are a woman or 1,000mg per day if you are a man. You should also follow the healthy diet and exercise recommendations above. Getting enough vitamin D, without risk of skin cancer is also advised.

Tooth decay and gum disease

You can help prevent tooth decay and gum disease by:

  • brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
  • spitting out the toothpaste, not rinsing
  • using dental floss
  • limiting foods and drinks high in acid and sugar
  • visiting a dentist every 12 months, or more if required


When you are over 65, your doctor may assess your risk for falls every year, or every 6 months if you've already had a fall.

You can help prevent falls by following the nutrition and exercise advice above. If needed, your doctor may also give you special exercises to reduce your risk of falling, as well as reviewing any medicines that could make you unsteady.

Vision and hearing

From 65, you should have a hearing test each year, and if you and your doctor think you need it, an eye test.


Your doctor may suggest that you are assessed once you are over 65 if you have a higher risk, or show symptoms of dementia.

ASK YOUR DOCTOR — Preparing for an appointment? Use the Question Builder for general tips on what to ask your GP or specialist.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: December 2020

Back To Top

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Health checks for men - Better Health Channel

Men should see their doctor for regular medical check-ups.

Read more on Better Health Channel website


Many Australians lose part or all of their sight as a result of diabetes

Read more on Diabetes Australia website

Health checks for women - Better Health Channel

A woman at high risk of a particular disease should be checked more frequently and/or at an earlier age.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Blood cholesterol | Heart Foundation

Understanding what blood cholesterol is and how to control it can help you reduce your risk of heart disease and other serious conditions.

Read more on Heart Foundation website

Cholesterol tests -

Abnormally high cholesterol levels may not give you any symptoms, so a blood test is the best way to check whether you have high cholesterol.

Read more on myDr website

Cholesterol - Pathology Tests Explained

Why and when to get tested for cholesterol

Read more on Pathology Tests Explained website

Screening tests for adults: 50 and over - Pathology Tests Explained

The need for regular health checks is more important in your older years. Height, weight, and blood pressure should be monitored, and the need to update immunisation should be reviewed. Flu vaccine is currently offered to all people aged over 65 years. Vision and hearing should also be tested in the elderly. A National Bowel Cancer Screening Programme is being implemented for men and women. For women, the National Screening programmes for Cervical and Breast Cancer are currently in place.

Read more on Pathology Tests Explained website

LDL cholesterol - Pathology Tests Explained

Why and when to get tested for LDL cholesterol

Read more on Pathology Tests Explained website

Triglycerides (fasting or random) - Pathology Tests Explained

Why and when to get tested for triglycerides

Read more on Pathology Tests Explained website

Health checks for women 40-60 | Jean Hailes

Regular health checks & screenings, combined with healthy diet & regular physical activity, can help prevent disease and illness. Tests to consider having.

Read more on Jean Hailes for Women's Health website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Victorian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo

Healthdirect Australia acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to the Traditional Owners and to Elders both past and present.