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  • 1 September 2016 to 31 August 2017
  • Project No: 301
  • Funding round: FR 11
  • Elderly care

People are living longer with those aged over 85 years being the fastest growing group of our population. Despite this, knowledge of the health and functioning of the over 85s has been scant. In 2006, the Newcastle 85+ study commenced to address this gap in knowledge, and over 1000 people aged 85 years (born in 1921) took part. A wide variety of information on their health, family and social circumstances, and use of health and care services was collected and they were followed up for 5 years. We now wish to recontact the participants as they reach 95 years, for a 10 year follow up, as very few studies have included people aged 95. As in earlier assessments, we will visit participants where they currently live, even if this is in a care home.

We have already found that 85 year olds differ greatly in terms of their health and functioning and in terms of the support they require from family and health and care services. Some remain well, whilst others develop a number of health problems, particularly cognitive impairment and dementia. A further assessment at age 95 will help us understand why people age differently and identify the factors that are associated with poor and good mental and physical health in the very old. We will be able to assess how much more health and social care and family support is required from age 85 to 95, and we are particularly interested in how active people of this age are and to identify whether many are socially isolated and lonely.

If we can identify factors at aged 85 that can predict good or poor health at 95 years, we may be able to design improved treatments and better organise health services to help them.

Amount awarded: £92,400

Evidence synthesis working group

The collaboration will be conducting 18 high impact systematic reviews, under four workstreams.

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