The overall objective of this application is to build infrastructure to investigate the health and economic well-being of a rapidly aging population in Kenya. Adults aged 60 years and older accounted for just 5.6% of the African population in 2020, but the number in this age group will triple by 2050, far outpacing overall population growth. Some countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) will experience even more dramatic changes; for example, the number of adults =60 years in Kenya will quadruple in just three decades. This precipitous demographic transition necessitates urgent research to understand and respond to economic and health-related challenges of a rapidly aging population. Currently, there is little population-level data from SSA to support research on critical domains, including risk factors for Alzheimer?s disease and related dementias (ADRD) and mental health, the health impacts of climate change, and economic well-being in later life.
We propose to develop the population-based Longitudinal Study of Health and Ageing in Kenya (LOSHAK), which will join a growing network of harmonized panel studies of aging in 45 countries modeled on the U.S. Health and Retirement Study (HRS). These studies provide rich data into country-specific and cross-national health and economic issues. A panel study on aging in Kenya will represent a critical addition to the HRS network for several reasons. First, SSA is vastly under-represented in the HRS network; the only African study is HAALSI in South Africa. As a result, little is known about how local context impacts aging trajectories across SSA and in comparison to other regions. Second, the pace of population aging is rapid, even compared to other countries in SSA. Third, Kenya has one of the highest climate risk indices in SSA. The immediate and long-term impacts of climate change on late-life mental health and economic well-being are poorly understood but are projected to grow over the coming years. Finally, a system of cash transfers to vulnerable Kenyans provides a unique opportunity to study the impact of this intervention in older adults.
Aga Khan University
05/15/2022 to 04/30/2024