TCD Gerontologist to Present RTÉ Programme on Ageing in Ireland
Sep 24, 2010
A television documentary, The End of Ageing, presented by TCD Gerontologist Professor Rose Anne Kenny, is scheduled to be broadcast on RTÉ 1 at 9.30pm on Sunday, September 26th next. Professor Kenny, academic leader of The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) and Professor of Geriatric Medicine and Consultant Geriatrician at St James’s Hospital, will investigate the social, biological and scientific changes that influence why Irish people are living longer than ever before and how Ireland is leading the way in the development of age prevention technologies. The programme, part of RTÉ’s Coming of Age programming, coincides with Positive Ageing Week 2010.
The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA), which commenced in October 2009, has to date gathered information from over 6000 respondents of 50 years and older regarding their experience of ageing. The personal knowledge, observations and experiences of these individuals associated with growing older in Ireland will be used to underpin public policy in a future that sees an unprecedented growth in the ageing population of Ireland. In the programme, Professor Kenny draws on the information gathered through the TILDA study so far to take an in-depth look into one of the most important issues facing modern Ireland. She examines the latest scientific research into the ageing process and talks to leading experts about our extended life expectancies.
By 2036 one in five Irish people will be over 65 years of age; with the greatest increase being in those over 80 years of age. Ageing on this scale is unparalleled in Irish history and will have significant consequences for Ireland’s economy and society. The study will help to solve the many issues our country faces as the population lives longer. Speaking about the project TILDA’s academic leader, Professor Rose Anne Kenny, Professor of Geriatric Medicine and Consultant Geriatrician at St James’s Hospital said: “The importance of ageing is evident however there is an acute shortage of social, economic and health information on older persons in Ireland. The data gathered from the TILDA survey will be crucial in filling this gap. TILDA is essential to underpin planning and to ensure a ‘healthy and happy’ life span for the people of Ireland. The survey has had a fantastic response so far and we continue to encourage people to take part and share their invaluable experience of growing older with interviewers when they call on their homes.”
TILDA is a study of a representative cohort of 8,000 people living in Ireland over the age of 50, charting their health, social and economic circumstances over a 10-year period. It will collect detailed information on all aspects of their lives, including:
• Health dimension – physical, mental, service needs and usage;
• Economic dimension – pensions, employment, income and assets;
• Social dimension – contact with friends and family, formal and informal care, social participation.
Respondents will be interviewed at two yearly intervals so that researchers can gain in-depth insights into the process of ageing. The social interviews will be carried out in respondents’ homes and health assessments will be conducted in the TILDA Health Assessment Centre at Trinity College Dublin and in University College Cork. These centres are equipped with appropriate equipment for cardiovascular, bone density, visual acuity, and cognitive testing, as well as other important medical assessments.
Similar studies have been conducted in a number of other countries such as the United States and England and have made important contributions to policy analysis and design. In this way, they have led to major improvements in the pensions and healthcare systems.
TILDA is funded by the Atlantic Philanthropies, Irish Life and the Department of Health and Children. The study will cost €29 million over a ten-year period.
The study is being carried out by Trinity College Dublin in collaboration with an interdisciplinary panel of scientific researchers, with expertise in various fields of ageing, from the Dundalk Institute of Technology, the Economic and Social Research Institute, the National University of Ireland Galway, the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, University College Cork, University College Dublin and Waterford Institute of Technology.
For further details on TILDA visit www.tilda.ie
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