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Research study highlights challenges facing older people in Northern Ireland


Researchers at Queen’s University Belfast launched (on 27 November) the preliminary findings of the Northern Ireland Cohort for the Longitudinal Study of Ageing (the “NICOLA” Study).

Life expectancy is increasing in Northern Ireland meaning that the fastest growing section of our population is older people. The NICOLA study is the largest public health study in Northern Ireland looking at the health, lifestyles and socioeconomic circumstances of more than 8000 people over 50 years of age, over a ten year period, building on existing collaborations with sister studies in England and the Republic of Ireland.

For more information and to download the findings from the first interview survey please see the QUB website>

The findings show that a quarter of participants live alone and over half of those aged over 75 live alone, which could have serious health implications for this population. Living alone is twice as common in the most deprived areas compared to the least deprived areas and three times as common in larger urban areas than in most rural areas.  Loneliness is a major public health (and welfare) issue and its effects on the health of older people are as large as the effects of many biological risk factors such as high blood pressure or cholesterol.


* HSC R&D Division contribute funding to support the NICOLA study.