Trinity’s Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) research group will investigate how coronavirus and the measures implemented to contain it have impacted adults over 50 in Ireland.
TILDA will survey over 6,000 participants to detail how the coronavirus pandemic has affected their health, activities, social lives, mood, quality of life, and psychological state.
An additional TILDA study will be conducted to gather biological samples to find out who has been infected with coronavirus and use this information to determine risk factors and clinical outcomes.
Both studies hope to inform policymakers tackling the long-term effects of the coronavirus.
Over 65s accounted for 92% of confirmed deaths between March 11th and May 15th of this year, according to the Central Statistics Office.
Those over 70 were advised to stay indoors, limit visits from friends and family and halt outdoor exercise.
In a press statement Prof Rose Anne Kenny, principal investigator of TILDA and head researcher, said: “For the past 11 years, TILDA has gathered comprehensive research information on all aspects of the overall health, economic and social circumstances of adults over 50 in Ireland.”
“TILDA is a representative sample, which means that we can generalise the information to the entire population because of the epidemiological methods employed to recruit the TILDA participant sample”.
“None of this is possible without the support of our committed TILDA participants. By linking our past data with their experience of the pandemic, we can assess a broad tapestry of how the pandemic has and will impact the lives of people in Ireland.”
Kenny added that using samples to find out what risks are present in this population has implications for potential treatments: “Furthermore, aligned with the analysis of biological samples, we will be able to explore what determines susceptibility both to infection and the response to fighting the infection.”
“This is important information for scientists who are developing treatments and vaccinations. We look forward to providing a platform for the experience of older people to be heard.”
TILDA Senior Researcher Dr Mark Ward said: ”The world is living through a unique time in history as we grapple with the fallout of COVID-19 across the globe. The outbreak of this disease has affected every aspect of our lives and has particularly affected older people.”
“This research provides a unique opportunity for older people living in Ireland to document their experience so that we can learn how to improve public health responses in the future”, he said.