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What to Expect in Your 60s

The good, the bad and the ugly. Plus advice on feeling happy, sexy and pain-free

Preserve Your Senses

The Good News: Lifestyle plays a major role in helping to maintain your senses as you age. So stay away from loud noises, eat a well-balanced diet (which can help ward off some age-related eye disorders) and see a doctor immediately if you notice that your senses of smell or taste diminish significantly. (This may indicate a sinus infection or be a reaction to medication.)

The Not-So-Good News: Age-related hearing loss becomes more common, primarily as a result of degenerative changes in the ear canal, eardrum and other structures of the ear. About 45 percent of 60-somethings experience some degree of hearing loss, rising to 68 percent among 70-somethings. After age 60, the ability to hear high-frequency tones also diminishes. What to do? Swallow your pride and get tested for hearing aids. Plagued by dry eye? The medication Restasis can help create more tears, while omega-3 fatty acids — found in fish such as tuna and salmon as well as fish oil supplements — may help tear quality.

What's Up With That? You might find it harder to see well in dim light; in general, 60-year-olds need three times as much light to read as 20-year-olds. And after age 60, the risk of macular degeneration increases. Fish oil and a diet rich in antioxidants can help prevent this condition.

What's Ahead: By age 70, smell and taste have likely declined, reducing the ability to enjoy subtle flavors. Taste buds decrease in number and sensitivity, and nerve endings in the nose may not work as well. The fix? Turn up the dial on seasonings. Ethnic cuisines like Indian and Thai contain spices and herbs that amplify the aromas and tastes of foods.

mature couple; 60s; bed; sex; love; health

Sex in your 60s can be better than ever. — Photo by Craig Cutler

Improve Your Sex Life

The Good News: Sex in your 60s can be better than ever: You've got more time and fewer distractions. And getting older often means becoming more comfortable in your own skin. In fact, sexual satisfaction among women rises with age, a recent University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine study found. In that study, two-thirds of sexually active women (with a median age of 67) were moderately or very satisfied with their sex lives.

The Not-So-Good News: Sex-related hormones — estrogen and progesterone in women, testosterone in men — decline, and vaginal dryness may become more noticeable, but over-the-counter lubricants are effective, as are prescription creams and tablets.

What's Up With That? Rates of erectile dysfunction (ED) increase with age; in one study of men with ED, 40 percent first experienced symptoms in their 60s. Research shows that not smoking and eating a diet rich in antioxidants can help.

What's Ahead: Sexual satisfaction only gets better with age.

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