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Data are lacking on the health, social support, and economic security of India’s growing elderly population, and concern is mounting about the well-being of this expanding group. By assembling a research team of demographers, economists, medical doctors, sociologists, and public health and policy experts, LASI aims to supply the data needed to take stock of the situation of India’s elderly population. It is hoped that this evidence base will contribute to cross-national studies of aging and will inform the design of policies that can protect and support the growing elderly community.
The pilot portion of the LASI project is supported by an R21 grant from the National Institute on Aging (NIA), one of the 27 institutes and centers of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The results of the pilot study will inform the design of a full-scale, nationally representative LASI, with a sample of roughly 30,000 to be followed longitudinally (with refresher populations added as well). These data will also provide a much-needed foundation for scientific research and policy-making related to aging in India. Through comparative studies, LASI will contribute to scientific insights and policy development in other countries due to its harmonized design with parallel international studies. LASI will ultimately be part of a worldwide effort aimed at understanding how different institutions, cultures, and policies can influence – and prepare for – population aging.
More information available below:
LASI Survey Instrument
Key LASI Components
In February 2009, members of the core LASI team, NAC, and IAC met in Delhi to assess the state of the pilot LASI survey instrument. At that time, two questionnaires were presented: a household survey and an individual survey. Each contained multiple sections:
-Housing and Environment
-Health Care Providers
-Assets and Debts
-Family and Social Network
-Health Care Utilization
-Work and Employment
Additional edits will yield subsequent versions before the pilot testing begins. The pilot survey will be implemented from October to December 2009 in four Indian states: Karnataka and Kerala in the south, and Punjab and Rajasthan in the north. Researchers selected these states to capture regional variation in health transitions, socio-economic status, and state of development. Karnataka and Rajasthan were also selected by the Study of Global AGEing and Adult Health (SAGE), thereby allowing for comparison of the data across these states. The target sample for the pilot study is non-institutionalized Indian residents aged 45 and older. Researchers aim to sample a total of 1500 persons from both urban and rural settings.
LASI will employ computer-assisted personal interview (CAPI) techniques to record the responses of survey participants. This method requires field teams to be outfitted with laptop computers, with questions asked of respondents in a face-to-face interview. Field teams will input responses directly into a laptop computer, thereby limiting data entry processes as well as minimizing data recording and entry errors. This portion of the LASI project is funded through a pilot grant from Harvard’s Program on the Global Demography of Aging.
Another feature of the LASI pilot survey instrument is the collection of dried blood spots (DBS), which can be analyzed to provide researchers with quantitative data on health. The LASI research team has joined with DBS experts in the United States, including Peifeng (Perry) Hu (UCLA), Thomas McDade (Northwestern), Teresa Seeman (UCLA), and Sharon Williams (Purdue), to craft a proposal to the NIH for analyzing the DBS collected during LASI. In particular, the LASI team proposes to analyze the DBS for the presence of apolipoproteins B-1 and A, C-reactive protein (CRP), Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), and hemoglobin (Hb). The DBS collected during the projected full-scale LASI project will be analyzed by Arun Risbud and his research team at the National AIDS Research Institute (NARI) in Pune, India.