MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Prof. Carol Jagger
AXA Professor of Epidemiology of Ageing and
Deputy Director of the Newcastle University Institute for Ageing (NUIA)
Institute of Health & Society
Campus for Ageing and Vitality
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: As part of a larger study (MODEM – modelling outcome and cost impacts of interventions for dementia) we have developed a microsimulation model called PACSim which forecasts the number of older people aged 65 years and over along with their health and lifestyle factors as they age over the next 20 years. Crucially these are the first projections that include the health and lifestyle profiles of younger people as they age into to older population, rather than just assuming they have the same health profiles as existing young-old.
Other studies have already reported that the proportion of older people with multimorbidity (two or more concurrent diseases) has increased. Our study shows that not only will this continue but that the largest increase over the next 20 years will be for complex multimorbidity (four or more diseases). Much of the gain in life expectancy over the next 20 year for a 65 year old will be years spent with complex multimorbidity. And more importantly the future cohorts of young-old entering the older population will have successively more multimorbidity.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: The reason for the increase in multimorbidity in future young-old populations is due to the higher levels of obesity and physical inactivity in younger people that previous generations. These health behaviours are responsible for a number of diseases. So it’s the usual message to readers that they need to take control of their health or seek help with to do this, and delay the onset of the first and, if they already have one chronic condition, any further ones.
There also needs to be more appropriate services for people with complex multimorbidity, services that take account of the person as a whole and less as a collection of chronic conditions.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: We are currently using PACSim to project how dependency and care needs will change over the next two decades. And as part of MODEM we will then implement scenarios in the model to help decide which interventions for dementia will have the greatest effect on both number of dependent older people and the costs of their care.
Age and Ageing is an international journal publishing refereed original articles and commissioned reviews on geriatric medicine and gerontology. Its range includes research on ageing and clinical, epidemiological, and psychological aspects of later life.
Publisher Oxford University Press
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