Examining late-life trends and trajectories

The Challenge 

As the U.S. population ages, it is important that we understand trends in late-life functioning, how these differ for population subgroups, and the economic and social consequences of aging and disability for individuals, families, and society. Westat is assisting in measuring these trends and individual aging pathways with the National Health and Aging Trends Study (NHATS), conducted by the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health through a cooperative agreement with the National Institute on Aging.

Our Solutions 

  • Westat collects data on functioning and underlying capacity, living arrangements and social support, economic status and well-being, and environmental factors and quality of life for the NHATS study through annual in-person interviews, physical and functioning measurements, and cognitive assessments. For sample members who pass away, a Last Month of Life interview is conducted with a proxy.
  • Data collection began in 2011; 6 rounds of data collection have been completed.
  • The NHATS sample represents the entire U.S. population 65 and older, including those who are in nursing homes and other long-term care settings.  About 40% of the sample is age 80 or older, including a large number of 90+.
  • Westat has a lead role in sample design, survey design, survey operations, and data dissemination.
  • In 2011 and 2015, Westat conducted CATI telephone interviews with a sample of informal caregivers identified in the first and fifth rounds of NHATS, with funding from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation.
  • This study uses Blaise, a comprehensive commercial, off-the-shelf (COTS) survey processing system. It provides integrated multimode support for computer-assisted survey data collection.
  • Four Westat-developed products enhance data collection efficiency and study management for field supervisors, plus stradle multiple platforms:
    • mFOS (mobile field operating system)
    • EAGLE (GIS system for field falsification detection and travel tracking)
    • M3 (multimode manager)
    • PD3 (paradata discovery dashboard tool)

The Results 

  • The NHATS study will help guide efforts to reduce disability, maximize functioning, and enhance quality of life for older Americans.

Our Client 

National Institutes of Health (NIH)