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Am J Epidemiol. 2008 Dec 15;168(12):1444-51. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwn277. Epub 2008 Oct 25.

Issues in conducting epidemiologic research among elders: lessons from the MOBILIZE Boston Study.

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  • 1Institute for Aging Research, Hebrew SeniorLife, 1200 Centre Street, Boston, MA 02131, USA. samelson@hrca.harvard.edu


Conducting research in elderly populations is important, but challenging. In this paper, the authors describe specific challenges that have arisen and solutions that have been used in carrying out The MOBILIZE Boston Study, a community-based, prospective cohort study in Massachusetts focusing on falls among 765 participants aged 70 years or older enrolled during 2005-2007. To recruit older individuals, face-to-face interactions are more effective than less personal approaches. Use of a board of community leaders facilitated community acceptance of the research. Establishing eligibility for potential participants required several interactions, so resources must be anticipated in advance. Assuring a safe and warm environment for elderly participants and offering a positive experience are a vital priority. Adequate funding, planning, and monitoring are required to provide transportation and a fully accessible environment in which to conduct study procedures as well as to select personnel highly skilled in interacting with elders. It is hoped that this paper will encourage and inform future epidemiologic research in this important segment of the population.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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