National study collecting data on aging adults’ experience during COVID-19
How does a pandemic affect the physical and psychological health of adults as they age? Does COVID-19 have an impact on the delivery of regular health-care services? Does a COVID-19 infection lead to long-term health problems affecting the lungs or brain?
Vanessa Taler, PhD, investigator at Bruyère, hopes to answer these questions through a recently launched research project. In partnership with more than 10 institutions across the country—including Bruyère—Vanessa will examine the experiences of older adults during the coronavirus pandemic, exploring how they cope, the impacts on their physical and mental health, and changes to how they access health-care services.
“We know that older adults are among the most vulnerable to COVID-19, and the virus is impacting them in many ways,” explains Vanessa. “It’s important that we look at how the pandemic is affecting them in terms of both their physical health and their psychological health.”
Over the next six months, the CLSA COVID-19 study will collect weekly and monthly data from its participants through online and telephone surveys to gain a comprehensive picture of the spread and impact of the pandemic.
“By using the rich data from the CLSA to study COVID-19, we can assess which factors appear to protect against or increase the risk of developing symptoms,” said Raina, a professor in the Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact at McMaster and the scientific director of the McMaster Institute for Research on Aging. “This offers a unique opportunity to understand why some individuals develop severe disease while others remain asymptomatic despite being infected by the virus.”
In addition to data on health and well-being, the study will also gather information on health behaviours, such as social distancing and handwashing, workplace and economic impacts, as well as travel history.
Funding for the CLSA COVID-19 study has been provided by the McMaster Institute for Research on Aging (MIRA), McMaster University and Juravinski Research Institute through a new gift earlier this month for research on the pandemic from Hamilton philanthropists Charles and Margaret Juravinski.
The COVID-19 study is being conducted by the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA), a national research platform on health and aging involving more than 50,000 participants across 10 provinces. The CLSA is led by lead principal investigator Parminder Raina of McMaster University, and co-principal investigators Christina Wolfson of McGill University and Susan Kirkland of Dalhousie University, along with a national team of researchers.
The CLSA is a major strategic initiative of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Funding for the platform has been provided by the Government of Canada through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Canada Foundation for Innovation.
Additional support has been provided by several provinces, affiliated universities and research institutions across Canada.
For more information on the CLSA COVID-19 study, visit: www.clsa-elcv.ca/coronavirus
For more information:
Bruyère Research Institute