Introduction: A significant gap in evidence characterizes the process of establishing patient-centered health priorities for older men.
Methods: A cross-sectional postal survey of 2325 Canadian community dwelling men aged 55-97 years old was conducted in 2008 to gauge older men's level of concern for 24 different health items, to determine the impact of age, education and health status on these perceptions, and to ascertain whether men perceive that their health concerns are being attended to.
Results: Health issues of greatest concern to men were mobility impairment (64% of respondents), memory loss (64%), and medication side effects (63%). Respondents with lower educational attainment expressed greater concern about their health and were almost 2-fold times more likely to report being concerned about stroke, heart disease and prostate disorders in analyses that controlled for age and health status. Physical and mental health were independently associated with various concerns about health, but old age was not a reliable predictor, with only younger men (<75 years old) differentially preoccupied by conditions such as erectile dysfunction. Health items of greatest concern to men tended to be those with the lowest screening or counseling rates: these included incontinence, osteoporosis, mobility impairment, falls, anxiety issues, memory loss and depression.
Conclusion: An improved consumer-guided agenda for addressing older men's health in the coming decade is urgently required.