Seniors are the fastest growingage group in the country, thanks to thepost-war babies who began turning 65years old in 2011. By 2031, one in fiveAlbertans is expected to be a senior.
As a strong social and economicforce, baby boomers (those bornbetween 1946 and 1964) Canada’slargest population group, havechanged how we age (remember 40 isthe new 30?). Yet as seniors they are allbut missing from clinical research.
“Compared to other age groups, fewseniors are at the research table, and asthe number of seniors grows, the gap
The growing gap between
seniors and research
Aging baby boomers are all but missing from studies and clincial trials
of not being researched sufficientlywill grow,” says Suzanne Vorvis,director of Provincial Research andPrivacy Initiatives at Alberta HealthServices.
Most clinical trials in Alberta andaround the world focus on youngeradults (24 to 45) and children, withthe findings generalized to peopleover 65, says Rosmin Esmail, directorof Knowledge Translation, ResearchInnovation and Analytics at AHS.
But drugs given to younger people
may work differently in seniors, adds
Esmail. They may also have other side
effects or reactions in older people who
have multiple conditions or are taking
More than 90 per cent of olderadults in Alberta have at least onechronic health condition and one-third have four or more chronicconditions such as arthritis, high bloodpressure, diabetes, heart disease andAlzheimer’s disease.
Vorvis says seniors, as a whole, usemore health services than the otherage groups and that more studies areneeded about people 55 and over.But making seniors part of studies is
Photo:AlexrathA new project will try to understand why older Albertans have little involvement in health research.