Tuesday, October 30, 2012

aging population? let's do a study!

Aging populations are on the minds of governments and social planners all over the world. Note for example:

Canada is right in there with its attempt to keep on top of its aging population situation by implementing a Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA).

The study's definition and purpose (as described on its website):
"The Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA) is a large, national, long-term study that will follow approximately 50,000 men and women between the ages of 45 and 85 for at least 20 years. The study will collect information on the changing biological, medical, psychological, social, lifestyle and economic aspects of people’s lives. These factors will be studied in order to understand how, individually and in combination, they have an impact in both maintaining health and in the development of disease and disability as people age. The CLSA will be one of the most comprehensive studies of its kind undertaken to date, not only in Canada but around the world"

Locally the Simon Fraser Campus in Surrey is one of eleven Canadian sites for collecting this study's data. They held an open house with ribbon cutting and tours on October 4th. The site's lead investigator, Dr. Andrew Wister (chair of SFU's Gerontology Department) hopes the data will shed light on "'The many complex and interrelated biological, clinical, psycho-social and societal factors' that affect aging" (quoting from SFU Surrey joining long-term study into effects of aging, October 4, 2012,  The Province).

Living Lab
Sounds good. I just hope all that study doesn't take the place of action where it's already seen to be needed. In our province I often hear stories of acute care hospital beds occupied by the ill elderly until places in appropriate care homes can be found for them. It seems there's a lot  we already know about our aging population that could be acted on without 20 years' worth of study!


Here's a cool thing: SFU's  Dr. Tong Louie Living Lab

 Located in downtown Vancouver (7th floor of the BCIT downtown campus at 555 Seymour Street), the lab is made up of three spaces:

Experimental Space
- an 800 square foot area with moveable walls and ceiling and equipped with audio, video and motion detection systems. It allows researchers to simulate real-life settings like kitchens bathrooms, apartments, nursing home settings and study how participants interact with their surroundings.

Viewing Theatre - space where the researchers watch what's going in the experimental space.

Data acquisition and Analysis centre
- space where data from the video, audio, and sensors is collected and analyzed to develop and perfect new products and devices.

Violet Nesdoly / poems

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