New study launched to help improve the lives of the elderly
Scotland's over 50s will be subject to a nationwide study of health, economic and social circumstances, with the prospect of enabling future improvements for their health and wellbeing.
The University of Stirling-led Healthy Ageing In Scotland (HAGIS) initiative, launched today, will be the first of its kind in Scotland to measure individuals and households through time.
With currently two million people aged over 50 in Scotland, the half a million pound study will be aimed at 1,000 people, with the target of expanding to 8,000 by 2018 following the release of the pilot’s findings next autumn.
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Professor David Bell, from Stirling University's Management School, commented: "We want to build a picture of what life is like for our over 50s. By taking part in HAGIS, older people in Scotland can inform the design and implementation of policies and services affecting them.
“The study is part of Scotland’s contribution to international ageing research and knowledge with the ultimate aim of promoting long, happy and healthy lives.”
The multi-partnered project will also include both the Universities of Strathclyde and Edinburgh.
With an increasing number of elderly people in Scotland, organisers hope the findings will give information on how individuals plan for retirement and who will provide them care, it will also include memory tasks and assess participants’ understanding of financial concepts.
Joining a global network of ageing studies led by the US National Institute for Aging (NIA), the findings will be compared with those similar across the UK and worldwide.
NIA health and retirement study Associate Director Dr Ken Langa said: "Our experience of a longitudinal study in America has shown that combining the different types of data that HAGIS will collect provides a detailed picture that can inform health and social policies aimed at improving the lives of older adults and their families.”
The HAGIS pilot study is jointly funded by the NIA and the Nuffield Foundation.