Home, Health and Disability along the Process of Ageing: A Mixed Methods Project
Swedish Research Council
Parkinson's disease & PD-related disorders
Although a comprehensive approach is needed to address the capacities, needs and changing contexts in which older people live, the paucity of studies on home, health and disability along the process of ageing is striking. The knowledge about the situation of different population segments is even weaker. This expansive project started in 2002 as an EC-funded project with five countries (ENABLE-AGE), and it has thrived through a series of follow-ups and new interrelated studies. The overriding and complex research task is to study objective and perceived aspects of home as related to aspects of health along the process of ageing, in a high- and a low-income European country as well as among different age cohorts and groups with specific injury/disease in Sweden. We will not only compare results but also validate, confirm or contradict findings from a diversity of sub-studies. The project will continuously develop theory and methodology. Applying a cumulative approach to the generation of research questions, we will build upon previous results and available databases. The project design was based on the central premise that the use of quantitative and qualitative approaches in combination provides a better understanding of complex problems than either approach alone. The present proposal has four parts with a quantitative set of core variables on home, health and disability that makes comparisons between cohorts possible. In part 1, with 9-year follow-up data as well as mortality data up to present from the EC-funded ENABLE-AGE Project, we are studying home, health and disability trajectories in very old age, now including specific studies involving centenarian survivors. We will compare the home, health and disability situation of very old people in Sweden and Latvia longitudinally and assess the impact of aspects of home on mortality. With part 2, we are studying people representing an earlier phase of the process of ageing within the Skåne part of the Swedish National Study of Ageing and Care (SNAC-GÅS). Cross-sectional studies in progress will be followed by longitudinal studies focusing on the predictive capacity of aspects of home for health and disability outcomes. Addressing those living with a severe injury, applying a seldom seen longitudinal approach to research on the situation of people ageing with spinal cord injury (SCI), in part 3 we will use survey data and qualitative data to describe, explore and investigate home, health and disability dynamics among people ageing with the consequences of a severe injury. Introducing a new project part (4) we will study the same types of dynamics among people that are living and ageing with a chronic, progressive disease Parkinsons disease. In parts 3-4, in addition to home, health and disability aspects that are comparable across the four project parts, diagnosis-specific symptomatology and problems will be studied related to aspects of home. With baseline data already in place, a concrete goal for parts 3 and 4 is first follow-up survey data collections as well as qualitative data collection for specific sub-studies. Sub-studies with explicit quantitative or qualitative designs as well as those with mixed methods designs will be effectuated. A cross-cutting theme is to continuously contribute to the development and optimisation of methodology for comparative, longitudinal research on home, health and disability dynamics, with specific attention to mixed methods approaches. Moreover, we aspire to contribute to the theoretical development in this field of research. The evolving knowledge base has relevance for health science research targeting different groups of the ageing population, with potential to nurture the development of evidence-based housing interventions and housing provision supporting activity, participation and health in later life. The results are nurturing the development of health care and social services, not only in Sweden but also in Europe at large.