The National Health and Aging Trends Study, led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, will begin enrolling participants to examine how current and future aging populations can lead fuller, healthier lives. The study, which begins data collection on May 1, is supported by the National Institute on Aging and is designed to help researchers understand changes in health and functioning among seniors, as well as the social and economic consequences of health and aging for individuals, families, and society.
“The National Health and Aging Trends Study grew out of the need for a database to monitor the shifting landscape of late-life and support the scientific study of how daily life changes as we age,” said Judith Kasper, PhD, principal investigator of the study and a professor with the Bloomberg School's Department of Health Policy and Management. “The study is intended as the primary platform for scientific inquiry to guide efforts to reduce disability, maximize functioning, and enhance the quality of life among older Americans.”
Nearly 9,000 men and women ages 65 and older who are currently enrolled in Medicare will be invited to participate in the long-term study. Scientific sampling was used to determine a representative group of people throughout the United States. Enrollment in the study is voluntary, and participants will be asked questions in person by interviewers from Westat, a national research firm that conducts health surveys.
Participants will be surveyed about their health, family, ability to accomplish tasks and their ability to get around their home and community. Data collectors will follow up with participants annually, and study participants will be paid $40 for their contributions.
“Inability to live independently will add to costs for long-term care and nursing home stays, and reduce well-being among older people,” said Richard Suzman, PhD, director of the National Institute of Aging's Division of Behavioral and Social Research. “This poses additional challenges for the aging of the baby boom. It's critical to track the trend and understand its dynamics.”
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