canadian study of health and aging
Canadian Study of Health and Aging
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About The Study

In most parts of the world, people are living longer, and this means that diseases that affect elderly people are becoming more common. In 1991, 11.6% of the Canadian population was aged 65 or over. This is expected to rise to 16% by 2016, and to about 23% in 2041.

Among the diseases of aging, few are more devastating than Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Dementia involves the deterioration of a person’s memory, and then of other aspects of intellectual, emotional and cognitive functioning. These diseases are relentlessly progressive, and eventually lead to the point where patients become incapable of caring for themselves and even unable to recognize close family members.

Roughly 8% of Canadians aged 65 or over suffer from dementia. However, the prevalence rises steeply with age, from about 2% among people aged 65 to 74, to 11% for those 75 to 84 and 35% for people aged 85 and over.

Annual Numbers of New Cases of Dementia in Canada, 1991


Download the Prevalence of dimentia results in Power Point format (497KB)Download the Prevalence of dementia results in Power Point format (497KB)

The Canadian Study of Health and Aging (CSHA) was planned in 1989 as a national longitudinal study to provide accurate statistics on the number of people who have dementia, including Alzheimer's disease, in Canada. The study also covers a range of other health topics.

The CSHA involved 10,263 people aged 65 or over, sampled from 36 communities across Canada. Representative samples were drawn from the community and from institutions, and participants were assessed at 5-yearly intervals: in 1991, 1996, and for a final time in 2001.

The objectives initially focused on the epidemiology of dementia, and the study has provided estimates of prevalence, incidence and risk factors for dementia, and the burden it places on family caregivers. The CSHA has also described patterns of disability, frailty and healthy aging, and has recorded utilization of health services for different diagnostic groups.

Our team of over 60 investigators involves clinicians, epidemiologists, social scientists, psychologists, nurses and others. As of May, 2002, the study has produced over 160 journal publications.

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