It’s often referred to as the “Silver Tsunami”. The aging of the Canadian population will become a public health challenge in the coming decades. By 2025, it is estimated that one in five Canadians will be over 65, and within 30 years Quebec will have one of the most elderly populations in the Western world. On September 13, 2012, The Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI MUHC) and McGill University launched the Montreal component of the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA) – one of the most comprehensive studies ever conducted on aging.
The RI MUHC is a major player in this ambitious pan-Canadian project that involves more than 160 researchers and collaborators from 26 Canadian universities. Data will be collected at 11 locations across Canada, including two locations in Quebec: Montreal and Sherbrooke. The RI MUHC site will oversee data collected every three years from 3,000 people who will be invited to participate through home interviews and physical assessments. The Montreal site will also be home to the CLSA Statistical Analysis Centre, which will coordinate data access and utilization for researchers.
“We won’t age and adapt in the same ways our parents did, so we need complete data to help us make decisions regarding social policies, clinical care and health services,” said Dr. Christina Wolfson, co-principal investigator of the CLSA, researcher at the RI MUHC, and professor at McGill University’s Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics & Occupational Health. “The vast scope of the CLSA will provide us with the data we need.”
CLSA researchers across the country will follow 50,000 men and women between the ages of 45 and 85 for a 20-year period. This long-term national study will investigate factors that play a role in maintaining both health and quality of life as people age. The researchers will collect information on the changing biological, medical, psychological, social, lifestyle and economic aspects of people’s lives.
“The CLSA is not just a study, but a research platform that will be used by researchers for decades to come thanks to the range of information that will be gathered and analyzed,” said Yves Joanette, Scientific Director at the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Institute of Aging.
“Today’s announcement of the Montreal component of the CLSA is a reminder of the positive role that the right combination of world-class researchers and state-of-the-art equipment can have on the lives of Canadians” said Dr. Gilles Patry, President and CEO of the Canada Foundation for Innovation. “We are proud to be able to support Dr. Wolfson and her team as they pursue their research as part of this comprehensive national study on aging.”