The ilSIRENTE study: a prospective cohort study on persons aged 80 years and older living in a mountain community of Central Italy

Francesco Landi, Andrea Russo, Matteo Cesari, Christian Barillaro, Graziano Onder, Valentina Zamboni, Antonello De Santis, Marco Pahor, Luigi Ferrucci, Roberto Bernabei
Aging Clinical and Experimental Research 2005, 17 (6): 486-93

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: "Invecchiamento e Longevità nel Sirente" (Aging and Longevity in the Sirente geographic area, ilSIRENTE) aims at investigating the socio-demographic, functional, clinical and biological characteristics of all subjects aged 80 years and older residing in a well-defined mountain area of Central Italy.

METHODS: Data are from the baseline evaluation of the ilSIRENTE prospective cohort study. A list of all persons living in the Sirente area was obtained from the Registry Offices of the 13 municipalities involved in the study. Data collection started in December 2003 and was completed in September 2004. Among the 429 residents older than 80 years eligible for the study, 364 accepted to participate (response rate 84%). Participants were assessed by trained staff who collected information on socio-demographic factors, clinical conditions, medication use, physical performance and muscle strength. All participants were also evaluated using the Minimum Data Set for Home Care (MDS-HC) form and a slightly modified version of the "Invecchiare in CHIANTI" study.

RESULTS: The mean age of participants was 85.6 +/- 4.8 years (range 80-102 years), with over 20% of participants aged 90 years or older. More than 65% of participants were women. Most participants (70%) were independent or required limited assistance in performing basic activities of daily living (ADL), whereas 30% of participants were independent in instrumental activities of daily living (IADL). Cognitive function (assessed by the Cognitive Performance Score) was normal in 80% of the sample. Higher degrees of disabilities (defined as the sum of dependencies in ADLs and IADLs) were associated with worse physical performance and lower muscle strength.

CONCLUSIONS: Data on the socio-demographic characteristics and health status of very old people living in the Sirente mountain community are discussed and compared with findings from other epidemiological studies.

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