Published: 14-10-2021 11:55 | Updated: 14-10-2021 17:01

ARC awarded several substantial grants from Forte

Woman greeting the sun with open arms.
Foto: Getty Images.

Researchers at the Aging Research Center (ARC) have been awarded several substantial grants from Forte's annual open call for proposals. Out of the 32 projects, programmes and networks that received funding at KI, five were awarded to ARC. The aim is to analyse enabling and contributing to an in-depth knowledge in research areas or issues.

Portrait of Associate professor Amaia Calderón-Larrañaga, division of ARC, NVS.
Amaia Calderón-Larrañaga, Aging Research Center (ARC), NVS. Photo: Lucas Morin

The project grants include Amaia Calderón-Larrañaga, Davide Liborio Vetrano, Pär Schön and Weili Xu.

Older adults's contribution to informal caregiving

Amaia Calderón-Larrañaga receives 4 950 000 SEK for the project ”Older adults’ contribution to informal caregiving: temporal trends, profiles and adverse health consequences”.

The project aims to provide evidence on the magnitude of older people’s contribution to informal caregiving, and to gain knowledge of their particular health needs, through three research lines.

The first research line will analyse temporal trends in informal and formal care reception and provision during the last three decades, with a focus on older people as informal care providers. The second will explore the association between caregiving in old age and negative health outcomes, and potential underlying factors. The third will identify older caregivers most susceptible to being negatively affected by caregiving, and the stage when such consequences tend to occur.

“Based on data from three population-based cohorts (Swedish National study of Aging and Care; Swedish Panel Study of Living Conditions of the Oldest Old; Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe-Sweden) and an ad-hoc nationwide survey, we will map, integrate and track the characteristics of caregivers, care recipients, and care contexts”, says Amaia Calderón-Larrañaga, principal investigator and research group leader.

This will be essential to adapt supportive services to the actual needs of older caregivers and prevent their health from being negatively impacted.

The timely implementation of the findings will be guaranteed by a multidisciplinary group of experts covering the fields of geriatric epidemiology (Amaia Calderón-Larrañaga and Lucas Morin), geriatric medicine (Anders Wimo), and gerontology (Lena Dahlberg and Elizabeth Hanson), who occupy highly relevant positions across key Swedish institutions with competences in the field of informal care, such as the Swedish Family Care Competence Centre (Nka).

Pär Schön, Aging Research Center (ARC), NVS.

Ageing in place – from policy to practice

Pär Schön receives 3 620 000 kr for the project ”Ageing in place – from policy to practice. Consequences of the de-institutionalisation of Swedish eldercare for older people and their family members”.

In recent decades, there have been drastic reductions in municipal institutional care for older people in Sweden, driven by cost containment measures and by an ageing in place policy. This means that an increasing proportion of frail older people are dependent on help in their own homes.

“The aim of the project is to study the impact of the ageing in place policy and the process of de-institutionalisation on the organisation of municipal institutional care, and consequences for older people and their family members”, explains principal investigator Pär Schön.

Some of the questions the researcher will be focusing on are: What the ideas, motives and driving forces are behind the Swedish ageing in place policy and practice? How the eligibility criteria and individual characteristics for being admitted to municipal institutional care have changed over time? How the length of stay in care homes has changed in recent years? How rejections of applications for municipal institutional care are motivated? How those who get rejected, and their family members, handle their situation to meet their needs?

This project is a multidisciplinary collaboration between the Aging Research Center (Karolinska Insitutet & Stockholm University), the Department of Social Work (Stockholm University), the Equity and Health Policy research group at the Department of Global Public Health (Karolinska Institutet) and Stockholm Gerontology Research Center. Participating researchers are: Petra Ulmanen, Ann Liljas, Bettina Meinow, Janne Agerholm, Bo Burström, Lennarth Johansson and Pär Schön (project leader).

Davide standing in front of the entrance to KI, campus Solna.
Davide Liborio Vetrano, Aging Research Centre (ARC), NVS. Photo: ARC.

Trajectories of care needs and care transitions

Davide Liborio Vetrano receives 5 930 000 SEK (Cooperation between health and care providers 2021) for the project ”Trajectories of care needs and care transitions after age 60: the interplay between individuals’ frailty, their environment, and personal perspectives”.

“This project aims at increasing our knowledge concerning care needs and patterns of care utilization of frail and clinically complex older adults, to identify timely actions towards a more proactive and integrated healthcare”, says principal investigator Davide Liborio Vetrano.

An increased rate of transition of frail individuals between healthcare (primary care, hospital) and social care providers (home care services, institutions) has been observed but not well characterized. At the same time, fragmented and idiosyncratic care transitions are arguably responsible for a quicker functional decline, which accelerates frailty development. Finally, patients’ perspective and experiences have been rarely taken into consideration when designing care paths, especially when frailty is at play.

Taking advantage of three well-characterized Swedish population-based studies part of the Swedish National Study on Aging and Care (SNAC), and of the National E-Infrastructure on Aging Research (NEAR) the researchers behind the project will analyse data of over 7,000 individuals 60+, living in both urbanized and rural areas of four different Regions.

“Through this project, we expect to identify relevant risk profiles and harmful care utilization patterns as a basis for more integrated and person-centred care, which hopefully will delay or postpone frailty, reduce morbidity burden, and improve patients’ experiences and quality of life”.

Weili Xu, Aging Research Center (ARC), NVS. Photo: Maria Yohuang

Understanding the care needs of older adults with cognitive disorders

Weili Xu receives 5 990 000 SEK (Cooperation between health and care providers 2021) for the project ”Understanding the complex and progressive care needs of older adults with cognitive disorders to provide timely and personalized care delivery”.

Dementia is one of the major causes of disability and dependence, and its impact on healthcare systems leads to an enormous burden on our current and future society.

“The goal of this project is to provide evidence supporting timely and personalized care for people with cognitive disorders (mild cognitive impairment [MCI] and dementia)”, says Weili Xu, research group leader and Principal Investigator of the project.

To achieve the goal, the researchers use data from three population-based cohort studies and a national quality registry. Findings from this project will provide practical information for healthcare managers to plan and deliver tailored and stage-specific care to older adults with cognitive disorders.
The research team in the project is multidisciplinary and consists of Laura Fratiglioni, Anders Wimo, Maria Eriksdotter, Johan Fastbom, Britt-Marie Sjölund, Stephanie Paillard-Borg, Alessandra Marengoni, Serhiy Dekhtyar, as well as Giulia Grande.

Professor Johan Fritzell. Photo: Thomas Carlgren.
Johan Fritzell, Aging Research Center (ARC), NVS. Photo: Thomas Carlgren

Social ageing

In addition, Johan Fritzell has received a network grant for the “Social Inequalities of Ageing (SIA) – network”.

"The new network support enables an important continuation of the capacity building in social ageing research that we implemented within the SIA programme. Like the SIA programme, a number of leading Nordic researchers and their junior colleagues are part of the network," says research group leader and principal investigator Johan Fritzell.