Project 2: Participation-Focused Longitudinal Cohort Study of Individuals Aging with a Long-Term Physical Disability

What is this project about?

People aging with long-term physical disabilities start to show health-related signs of aging at an earlier age than the general population. They are also often excluded from research, so there are few studies examining changes in participation as adults with disabilities age. There is also limited research on how personal and environmental factors affect community participation for people aging with long-term physical disabilities.

Project goals

  1. Look at how participation changes for people aging with long-term physical disabilities over three years.
  2. Look at how receiving long-term supportive services (i.e., services provided by Centers for Independent Living and Area Agencies on Aging) affects how much they participate in their communities.

What does this study involve?

We recruited 475 people who were between the ages of 45 and 65 and had been living with a physical disability for at least five years to complete one 30-minute survey every three years. Surveys are collected online and over the phone.

Status

We have finished the first two years of this study and are contacting participants for the Year 3 follow-up survey.  We also developed a supplemental survey in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to learn more about how the pandemic is affecting the participation of people aging with long-term physical disabilities. We are now analyzing the results of the data from the first two years of the survey, as well as the supplemental COVID survey, and are writing papers to share our findings.