On the news roundup this week, the 14th Global Conference on Ageing is spotlighting the work of Dr Verena Menec, who is a Professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, College of Medicine at the University of Manitoba, as well as serving as principal investigator for the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA).
Dr Menec, along with colleagues, will be presenting a workshop during the Conference on “The Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging: A Platform Study to Support Policy Decisions and Initiatives”
Given the aging population, there is a strong need for high-quality evidence to inform health and social policy decision-making that will help to improve the health and well-being of Canada’s seniors.
The Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA) is the largest and most comprehensive platform study of aging ever undertaken in Canada that is expected to foster cutting edge research to answer the most pressing questions on healthy aging. Support for the study has been provided by the Government of Canada through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Canada Foundation for Innovation, as well as the provincial governments of British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador.
The CLSA has recruited over 51,000 Canadians aged 45-85 at baseline who will be followed up over at least 20 years. The lower age limit allows the inclusion of a sample from the “baby boom” cohort while the upper limit includes individuals entering their senior years who are making the transition into retirement, those who are already retired, and those who have already reached older age.
The study consists of two cohorts: The Tracking cohort (over 21,000 Canadians) was randomly selected from all ten provinces. Participants are surveyed via computer-assisted telephone interviews and respond to a wide range of measures, such as health, function, health behaviors, psychological well-being, caregiving, social engagement, and labor force participation. The Comprehensive cohort (over 30,000 Canadians) involves participants from 11 Canadian cities in seven provinces who participate in an in-home interview and come to a data collection sites for a wide range of physical, functional, psychological, and biological assessments. The majority of questionnaire-based data is the same for Tracking and Comprehensive, and weights have been calculated such that the data from over 50,000 participants can be combined.
In Spring of 2018 researchers will be launching a report summarizing different aspects of the CLSA baseline data. The Government of Canada has partnered with the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging to undertake analysis of the Baseline data of the CLSA and to produce a report highlighting several research and policy-relevant areas.
The CLSA serves to respond to the World Health Assembly’s Global Strategy and Action Plan on Ageing and Health which calls upon Member States to improve measurement, monitoring, and research on healthy aging.
This workshop has two objectives: 1) to provide an overview of the CLSA methodology and the kinds of measures that are being collected; and, 2) to present select findings and discuss how the CLSA can support responding to policy-relevant questions. Participants will be shown how to access CLSA data and will have the opportunity to ask questions on how to use the CLSA data for their own purposes.
About Dr Menec:
Dr Verena Menec is a Professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, College of Medicine. She received her doctorate in social psychology from the University of Manitoba. Dr Menec currently holds a Canada Research Chair in Healthy Aging. She served as the Director of the University of Manitoba Centre on Aging from 2004-2014. Dr Menec has also served on numerous advisory committees, including the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Institute of Aging’s Advisory Board from 2005 to 2011. Her main research interests lie in the areas of healthy aging, determinants of healthy aging, age-friendly communities, and health care utilization among older adults, particularly at the end of life.