Groundbreaking study tracks 50,000 Canadians over 20 years to find ways to improve our health by understanding how we age

What factors impact how we age? Why do some people stay healthy as they grow older while others develop health problems? What changing life circumstances develop for Canadians as they grow older and how do they handle them?

These are only a few of the questions that data from the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA) may help answer. The study will track 50,000 Canadians between the ages of 45 and 85 over 20 years. It’s the largest and most comprehensive study of aging ever undertaken in Canada. It will observe biological, medical, psychological, social, lifestyle and economic aspects of people’s lives to get a better picture of what healthy aging looks like in Canada.


The aim of the study is to improve the health of Canadians by better understanding the aging process and the factors that shape the way we age. The information gleaned over the next 20 years will help to improve the lives of people in Canada and around the world, changing the way we live and approach growing older. Data from the research will be studied for the next 50 years, and public-sector researchers from Canada and other countries can apply to use it. This month, the first dataset from the first 20,000 participants who participated in telephone interviews will be released for use in research.

The Alzheimer Society of Canada is very proud to be a partner in this project with CLSA. The data being collected is particularly relevant to the researchers who receive funding through the Alzheimer Society Research Program. The Alzheimer Society of Canada will encourage our funded researchers to make maximum use of the incredible data that will be available.

How does the study work?

20,000 participants will be interviewed by phone, 30,000 will receive a home interview and visit a data collection site once every three years at a university or research centre in their community. There are 11 data collection sites across Canada.

At the data collection sites, participants complete cognitive testing and physical assessments. They include:

  • vision, hearing and strength testing
  • blood pressure measurement
  • a bone density scan
  • blood and urine samples

To ensure the privacy and confidentiality of participants, all collected study data is de-identified.

Though many have expressed an interest in volunteering for the study, participants are selected randomly to ensure that the study is representative of the Canadian population. However, if you are contacted about taking part, be sure to take advantage of this great opportunity!

To read more about this landmark study, visit

Last Updated: 11/08/2017