Massive rise predicted in borough’s older population

Professor Ian Young, principal investigator of the NICOLA project.  INCT 20-729-CON
Professor Ian Young, principal investigator of the NICOLA project. INCT 20-729-CON

Some 250 people from Larne will take part in a new study amid predictions of a massive shift in Mid and East Antrim’s elderly population.

A Queen’s University project seeking to understand Northern Ireland’s ageing demographic has suggested that between 2012 and 2037, the number of over-50s in the borough will increase by 16,489, rising from just 36 percent of the population to 47 percent.

This will be the second highest proportion of any council in Northern Ireland.

The project also noted that official statistics indicate there will be a dramatic increase in the number of those aged 85 and above living in the council area, rising almost three-fold to 7,695 by 2037.

NICOLA - the Northern Ireland Cohort for the Longitudinal Study of Ageing – is seeking to understand the profound implications this ‘ageing revolution’ which will have for society and policy makers.

As part of its work ‘NICOLA’, which is Northern Ireland’s largest public health research project, will be following the lives of 245 people randomly selected over-50s from the Larne area.

Professor Ian Young, principal investigator of the NICOLA project, said: “NICOLA is the largest public health research project ever undertaken in Northern Ireland and will track the lives of 8,500 over-50s across Northern Ireland as they grow older. Over 300 participants from the local council area have taken part in the first stage of the project and we’re now ready to move into the next phase.

“Some local participants have already completed their health assessment whilst a new tranche of over-50s are currently being contacted to join the project.”

NICOLA consists of three stages, an interview conducted in the home, a questionnaire and a health assessment which will take place at the new Northern Ireland Clinical Research Facility at Belfast City Hospital.

Professor Young added: “NICOLA will help us change the way we live for the better by helping shape at least ten major government policies, tackling everything from pensions and benefits to dementia services and fuel poverty.”