Blekinge has been part of the national research project "Swedish National Study on Ageing and Care" (SNAC) since its beginning in year 2001. During the first two years both parts of the SNAC study; the population- and the care-service part were carried out but since 2003 only the population study is ongoing in Blekinge. The care-service part has been resumed since 2010.
The aim of the population study is to find out how among other things social environment, lifestyle and earlier diseases effect health and wellbeing in old age. The design is longitudinal and interdisciplinary and the study examines elderly between 60 and 96 years of age. Medical examinations, interviews, psychological tests and distributed of questionnaires are repeated every third or sixth year. In doing so changes in physical and mental health, functional performance, life-quality, social conditions and contacts with care and service systems are assessed.
For details see website: www.snac.org
In addition to the national design and objectives a number of separate research questions have been of special interest to the research team in Blekinge. These are as follows:
- Dental health and care - a general assessment of elderly between 60 and 96 years of age with a particular focus on identifying osteoporosis using dental X-ray examination.
- Multi-morbidity - developing an instrument for estimating incidence and prevalence of diseases in the general population.
- Occupation and retirement - the purpose being to study the differences between those working and those being retired or pre-retired at the ages between 60 and 66.
- Cardiovascular and cognitive diseases - does patients being treated in primary care know about incipient heart? Also is studied the relation between heart and cardiovascular diseases and diabetes mellitus and cognitive function.
- Quality in the care of the elderly - a study about how social contextual and structural factors relate to the need of care and services.
- OTC´s and non prescription drugs - the significance of lifestyle and psychological factors for the use of OTC and prescription medication.
- Functional performance and stress-reactivity - examining how variability in functional performance in a homogenous age group relate to experimental induces stress testing the stress hypothesis on ageing.
The first study of elderly in the region
The baseline examination was conducted during the period 2001 to 2003. When closed in spring 2003 examination had been made on 1402 subjects out of 2312 that was invited to take part in the study. In spring 2004 data was transferred to a database using SPSS and data analysis commenced while at the same time planning for the first re-examination of subjects 81 year and older took place.
The participation rate was fully (slightly above) 60% for the whole age range from 60 to 96 years of age with a variation between 55 to 75 % for different birthcohorts with the young birth cohorts having the higher participation rate.
Reexamination started in October 2004. Around 520 subjects had been re-examined until June 2006. Out of those subjects between age 81 and 96 that took part in baseline examination, 27 % were diseased when reexamination started in October 2004. Of those still alive three years after first examination and invited to reexamination 80 % took part in the second examination.
Additionally a sub-study started in autumn 2004. Subjects age 60 to 78 were examined with regard to cardiovascular disease and cognitive function. In this sub-study the participation rate were 90 %.
A second reexamination of the whole sample started in January 2007. At this time a new sample of subjects 60 years old were invited. This second reexamination was finished in October 2009 and once again a new sample of subjects 60 years old was invited. The third reexamination (9 year) started in februari 2010 for persons 81 year and older. It was closed in may 2012. A total of 470 people were present for the examination of which 372 were examined and 31 people died before the survey. This corresponds to a participation of 85 percent.
In January 2013 Phase V was initiated which means that all who are still alive will be called for new re-examination (the fourth). This phase will last during 2013 - 2015.
The care system perspective
Karlskrona municipality Mature Management has a need to raise awareness of aging and the care of the elderly in the future to improve care for older people. During the autumn of 2009 begins, therefore, SNAC, in cooperation with BTH, on behalf of the Mature Management, a research in Karlskrona on the municipality's elderly care is tailored to the needs of the elderly. The same type of study is done simultaneously in a number of other municipalities in the country.
The survey covers all persons aged 65 years and benefiting the elderly of Mature Management in Karlskrona and / or have a lasting home care / rehabilitation.
In spring 2010 there was a cross-sectional study. This has been reported and following discussions with management leadership, a continuous recording of the caretakers will start 1st February 2011.
During spring 2011 a comparative study of special housing between 2010 and 2011 took place.
The system of continuous registration has not worked so we will return to conduct cross-sectional studies - longitudinal sequential study. For special accommodation twice a year and regular housing once a year.
In autumn 2011, a new census was done which then was presented to the Elderly Committee. In spring 2012 there was a re-study, residential and contains information from three surveys, 2010 - 2012.
A new census was conducted in November 2012. During this year, the problem of pain conducted and a detailed analysis was conducted on the special housing. We also introduced a new instrument, QUALID, for measuring quality of life. While this in special housing. In May 2013 conducted a new survey among SÄBO.
SNAC-Blekinge is led by a steering group of researchers, led by Professor Johan Berglund as chief. The project is supported by the Ministry of Social Affairs, Blekinge Institute of Technology, College of Kristianstad and Växjö University. Cooperation exists with the County Council of Blekinge and with Karlskrona Municipality.