The Nihon University Japanese Longitudinal Study of Aging (NUJLSOA) – History and New Directions

Professor Yasuhiko Saito discusses The Nihon University Japanese Longitudinal Study of Aging (NUJLSOA) at The Asian Conference on Aging & Gerontology 2015 in Kobe, Japan.

The NUJLSOA is a longitudinal survey of a nationally representative sample of the population aged 65 and over in Japan. The first wave of data was collected in November 1999, the second in November 2001, a third wave in November 2003 and the fourth wave is currently under development. The study was designed primarily to investigate health status of the Japanese elderly and changes in health status over time. An additional aim is to investigate the impact of long-term care insurance system on the use of services by the Japanese elderly and to investigate the relationship between co-residence and the use of long-term care. While the focus of the survey is health and health service utilisation, other topics relevant to the ageing experience are included such as intergenerational exchange, living arrangements, caregiving and labour force participation. The NUJLSOA survey provides data comparable to that collected in the United States and other countries. The survey includes questions about a number of aspects of each respondent’s health and functioning: the presence of chronic diseases, impairments (vision and hearing), dental health and functional limitations (Activities of Daily Living, Instrumental Activities of Daily Living and NAGI measures). Mental health outcomes such as morale (PGC moral scale) and depression were also included. Information on health risks included lifestyle behaviours (smoking, drinking, exercise, weight). Information on background characteristics and family circumstances is also included. Socioeconomic information includes education and income with limited information on assets. Data on health care service utilisation, long-term care insurance and information on intergenerational exchange and norms and values relevant to ageing were also included. Similar questions were asked at the two waves with the addition of a number of questions relating to long-term care added to the second wave. Because the Japanese national system of long-term care insurance began on April 1, 2000, the first two waves of the survey provide a before and after system change picture of usage. Additional questions on economic status also have been added to the second wave of data collection. The WHO recommended approach to measuring depression, the CIDI short form for depression (CIDI-SF) was added to the second wave while the CES-D was retained. Questions asked at the first interview that reflect fixed attributes (e.g. parental characteristics) were not asked of previous respondents.

Professor Yasuhiko Saito

Yasuhiko Saito is Professor at Nihon University, University Research Center. His main fields of work are demography and gerontology in general, and health expectancy and ageing and health in particular. He has been involved in activities of a research network on health expectancy called REVES over the last 25 years. He is interested in studying both substantial and methodological issues on health expectancy. In recent years, he has been conducting longitudinal surveys in Japan and using longitudinal studies in Asia for his research activities.

Professor Yasuhiko Saito was a Featured Speaker at The Asian Conference on Aging & Gerontology 2015 (AGen2015) in Kobe, Japan.

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