Wave 9 of ELSA was carried out in 2018/2019, and the report includes substantive chapters on economic, social, and health issues, together with tables of cross-sectional and longitudinal results.
Since Wave 9 was completed, the world has suffered the COVID-19 pandemic, and older people have been particularly vulnerable. A COVID-19 Substudy was carried out with ELSA participants in June 2020 to understand the experience of older people over this period.
This report was compiled in the summer of 2020 when the current pandemic of COVID-19 and the acute vulnerability of older age groups have brought into sharp focus myriad issues around their health and social care.
Beyond this body of work, robust evidence related to multiple aspects of ageing is required for sound policy, and ELSA plays a pivotal role in providing such data. ELSA was initiated almost two decades ago when, in 2002, it was generated as a counterpart to the well-established Health and Retirement Study. Both investigations are closely linked in their content and harmonisation, and now many other studies from diverse populations across around 40 countries comprise this stable of ageing surveys (Gateway to Global Aging Data, https://g2aging.org). The guiding conceptual framework of ELSA is that the experiences of ageing, and moving through work and retirement into older age involve a wide range of social, cultural, economic, psychological, biological, medical, and genetic processes, and are strongly impacted by socioeconomic status. An understanding of these trajectories and the ways they interact requires a multidisciplinary perspective with contributions from several disciplines, applied to longitudinal data collected from the same population-representative sample of individuals over many years. As befits the study material and the scientific steering group, ELSA data users represent an array of disciplinary backgrounds.