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Pubilication Date: 13 July 2020
The Australian Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ALSA) was the centrepiece research activity of the Flinders Centre for Ageing Studies. The ALSA commenced in 1992 with 2087 participants aged 65 years or more. At Baseline, a comprehensive personal interview and assessment of neuropsychological and physiological functions was undertaken at each person’s home, supplemented by self-completed questionnaires, biochemistry, and additional clinical studies of physical function. The final wave (Wave 13) of data collection was carried out in 2014.
The domains assessed included demography, health, depression, morbid conditions, hospitalisation, hearing and vision difficulties, cognition, gross mobility and physical performance, activities of daily living and instrumental activities of daily living, lifestyle activities, exercise education and income. At the completion of the household interview, participants were left with self-administered questionnaires, which were mailed back in pre- paid envelopes or collected at the time of the clinical assessment. The domains covered by the questionnaires were dental health, sexual activity and psychological measures of self-esteem, morale and perceived control. The individual clinical assessment objectively measured both physical and cognitive functioning. The physical examination included measures of blood pressure, anthropometry, visual acuity, audiometry and physical performance. The cognitive assessment included measures of memory, information processing efficiency, verbal ability and executive function. The clinical assessments were conducted by nurses who received special training in the standard administration of all psychological instruments and the anthropometric measures.
Some data have been provided by secondary sources. Participant deaths have been systematically monitored through the government Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages. From Wave 7 onward, collateral data were gathered from the files of the Health Insurance Commission (HIC). Permission was sought for access to the Health Insurance Commission HIC for purposes of establishing use of medical care and services and expenditure. The information sought from the HIC database included: the number of medical care services, and for each service, the nature of the service, date, charge, and benefit; the number of PBS prescriptions, and for each prescription, the drug prescribed, number of repeats, date, charge, and benefit.