To help better understand the aging process, residents of Saskatchewan are being invited to participate in the largest study of aging ever undertaken in Canada.
The Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA) has announced it will follow 50,000 men and women between the ages of 45 and 85 for 20 years. The national study will collect information on the changing biological, medical, psychological, social, lifestyle and economic aspects of people’s lives as they age.
“We are hoping to enrol more than 1,300 participants from Saskatchewan who will help us to shed light on causes of disease and disability and help us understand the determinants of healthy aging,” says Parminder Raina, lead principal investigator of the study and a professor of clinical epidemiology and biostatistics at McMaster University.
“By studying aging as a process – and looking at the various trajectories of aging – we can begin to understand why some people age in a healthy way and why others do not.”
Residents will be invited to participate in 60-minute telephone interviews during which they will answer questions about their health and well-being, including physical, social and emotional health functioning, as well as the onset of health conditions and diseases. The interviews will take place every three years, with a follow-up call midway between to maintain contact.
To ensure study enrolment is representative of the Canadian population, CLSA researchers are working with provincial health ministries to randomly select participants. Residents between the ages of 45 and 85 are eligible to take part, but require an invitation to participate.
This month, roughly 5,300 information packages were mailed by the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health on behalf of the CLSA to potential participants. Interested respondents send back a ‘consent to contact’ form to the CLSA. The research team then gets in touch with them.
The demographics in Saskatchewan are changing now that baby boomers are entering their retirement years. In 2010, Statistics Canada reported that 153,700 people in Saskatchewan were aged 65 or older. By 2031, that number is expected to increase to 265,900 people, meaning roughly one in five residents will be age 65 or older.
“The CLSA represents a unique platform that will be used by researchers from all disciplines and fields, and that has the potential to contribute significantly to our understanding of biological, psychological and social determinants of active and healthy aging for the benefit of all Canadians,” adds Yves Joanette, scientific director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Institute of Aging (CIHR-IA).
The CLSA involves a team of more than 160 researchers and collaborators across the country, including co-principal investigators Susan Kirkland of Dalhousie University and Christina Wolfson of McGill University.
The Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging is a strategic initiative of Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). Funding for the study has been provided by the Government of Canada through the CIHR and the Canada Foundation for Innovation.
For more information, visit www.clsa-elcv.ca.