Future Scotland Study Seeks To Find Ways To Improve Elderly Lives

Joan Timpson  |  March 29, 2016

It's hard to determine how the status of your health or well-being will be years from now. It's also difficult to tell where your economic standing will be, or when you should start planning for retirement.

What if you could determine the remaining course of your well-being based on your current status? On July 24, 2015, researchers at the University of Sterling, with assistance from the Universities of Strathclyde and Edinburgh, decided to launch a HAGIS - Healthy Aging in Scotland - study that would follow the health, economic and social circumstances of people aged 50 and older to enable possible future improvements to be made in their overall health. The study - Scotland's first long-term ageing research initiative - seeks to find ways to improve the lives of older people in the future.

The plan of action

In Scotland, there are currently 2 million people over the age of 50, which makes up about 38 per cent of the population. The HAGIS study seeks to look at the lives of 1,000 of those people and follow their overall health and economic status.

Once the researchers have determined the status of the study in autumn 2016, they plan to expand it to 8,000 people into 2018 and chart everyone's changes in health and social circumstances over the decades, with status update reports every two years.

The future of Scotland

David Bell, professor of economics at the University of Stirling's Management School, stated that people residing in Scotland are currently living longer, which is increasing the size of the older population significantly, but the past shows a record of relatively poor health in older adults.

"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," Bell stated.

The researchers are confident that they will find information that can address questions such as how to receive proper care as an older person and how to plan for retirement.

Information for the world

HAGIS now joins a worldwide network of studies dedicated to ageing coordinated by the US National Institute on Aging. Therefore, this study will not only be compared to other findings in the UK, but it will also be compared to research around the world.

Dr. Ken Langa, associate director of the NIA-funded Health and Retirement study, believes that HAGIS will be an extremely valued study and an important part of the growing network of ageing studies. He is confident that HAGIS will provide researchers with the information they are looking for.

"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," Langa said.

At Sunrise Senior Living, our care homes enable people to thrive in the later stages of retirement. For more information, contact us today.