The National Survey of Research Entities Conducting Applied Studies in Aging was conducted in order to help inform the aging services industry and aging research community about priorities, strategies, and challenges faced in this important field now and in the future.
The 123 organizations that were invited to participate in the surveys included
- research centers/institutes in settings serving older adults
- research entities affiliated with aging service associations or wellness organizations
- universities studying applied or translational research in aging
- university-based/university-affiliated (UB/UA) senior living communities;
- other senior living communities that have participated and supported aging research studies in their communities
Respondents indicated high priority areas of aging research based on aging demographic trends that are of global significance. These high priority areas include
- aging in place
- Alzheimer’s Disease and palliative care
- comprehensive wellness
- family caregiving
- issues impacting ethnically diverse older adults
- lifestyle choices and impact on cognitive health
- rethinking retirement
- social engagement
The most important challenges impacting future research endeavors for research groups include: continued decreased funding opportunities; growing competition for funding support; the lack of and ability to attract researchers and professionals prepared in gerontology; and establishing and sustaining partnerships to leverage resources.
The availability of future funding may pose both opportunities and challenges as noted by the respondents. For research groups, the implications of the Affordable Care Act and changes in other government policies may provide new areas of research opportunities as the population ages and fewer caregivers will be available to provide care.
An important component of the survey was including the perspectives of senior living providers who have been involved in aging research endeavors. This helps us better understand the needs, priorities, opportunities, challenges, and strategies for conducting applied research in these settings.