Scotland’s first long-term ageing study seeks views of over 50s

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Researchers want to find out how Scotland's over 50s plan for their retirement
7 December 2016

Researchers undertaking Scotland’s first long-term study of the health, economic and social circumstances of people aged 50-plus are now seeking insight from individuals across Scotland.

Experts from the University of Stirling-led Healthy Ageing In Scotland (HAGIS) pilot study are now contacting 50-plus residents to take part in the vital survey.

The information the public provides will help to address questions such as how individuals plan for retirement and about the care given by, or provided to, our elderly population. The survey includes memory tasks and will also check if respondents’ understand key concepts that will help them plan their finances.

HAGIS Project Lead Dr Elaine Douglas, said: “This study will address some of the important economic, social and health problems faced by older people in Scotland. The data we gather is treated securely and confidentially. By linking the survey to health and social records, with individual consent, we will gather a much clearer picture of how Scotland’s elderly population can be better supported.

“I encourage anyone over the age of 50 who is approached about the survey to take part. Their contribution will help inform the design and implementation of policies and services affecting them now and in the future.”

This first phase of the study will seek information from 1,000 adults and will investigate the different stages at which people are willing to invest in their pension, healthcare and other outgoings that bring benefits later in life. Interviews will take place in people’s own home and will be carried out by trained interviewers from FACTS International.

The information will allow the researchers to understand why some people invest more in their future than others. This will help researchers and policy-makers to understand more about the ways in which people plan for their retirement and long-term security.

The study, jointly funded by the USA’s National Institute on Ageing (NIA) and the Nuffield Foundation, is part of Scotland’s contribution to international ageing research, with the ultimate aim of supporting a better quality of life for older people.

As part of the International Network of Ageing, HAGIS findings can be compared with findings from other ageing studies in the British Isles, Europe and around the world.

Stirling Economist and HAGIS Principal Investigator, Professor David Bell said: “This is a fantastic study. One of the key policy areas for cross-country comparison is the devolution of welfare payments to Scotland. These include disability payments, personal independence payments, carers’ allowance – the welfare benefits that are predominantly paid to the over 50s.”

The multi-partner project team includes Professor Ian Deary of the University of Edinburgh, also known for his work with the Lothian Birth Cohort.

Background information

Media enquiries to Corrie Campbell, Communications Officer on 01786 466 169 or c.r.campbell@stir.ac.uk.

Further information about HAGIS can be found online at www.hagis.scot.

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