Press Release

Minister McEntee announces funding of €10 million to support TILDA, the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing

Helen McEntee, TD, Minister for Mental Health and Older People, confirmed today that her Department will provide €10 million over the years 2017 – 2021 to support the continuation of TILDA, the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing.

Announcing the Government’s commitment on the occasion of the UN International Day of Older Persons, the Minister said: “Over time TILDA is building an invaluable database about how we age, and is a key source for policy makers in planning for a society with an ageing population. It is widely recognised internationally as setting the standard for this kind of research and I am delighted to be able to support its continuation.”

TILDA was launched in November 2006 and is a multiannual longitudinal study of the health, social and economic circumstances of 8,000 people aged 50 years and over. It is the first study of its kind in Ireland and has been conducted since its inception by Trinity College Dublin.

TILDA collects detailed information on key aspects of the participants’ lives, including:

  • Health (physical, mental, service needs and usage, etc.);
  • The economic dimension (pensions, employment, income and assets, etc.);
  • The social dimension (contact with friends and kin, formal and informal care, social participation, etc.

In view of its expertise in commissioning and managing specific projects, the Health Research Board (HRB) managed the negotiations with TCD on behalf of the Department of Health. The HRB’s remit in this context is to ensure that the future rounds of TILDA are delivered in line with best international research practice and deliver value for the State’s investment.

TILDA data have already been used to inform the development of the Healthy Ireland Initiative, the National Positive Ageing Strategy, the National Carers’ Strategy, the National Dementia Strategy and the Smart Ageing initiative. In the clinical context, TILDA data is informing clinical approaches to the management of high blood pressure, falls and stroke risk. The Departments of Social Protection, Transport and Children are also using TILDA data to aid policy development and analysis.

The Minister noted that “the value of a longitudinal study like TILDA will become more evident as the Study progresses and the data are further enriched, and we can expect this invaluable data to feed into health and social policy to an increasing extent into the future.”

Minister McEntee attended the UN International Day of Older Persons celebrations in Albert College Park, adjacent to DCU. The celebration event is being held by Third Age, in partnership with DCU, the world’s first Age Friendly University. The aim of the celebration is to promote the value of intergenerational conversation and engagement.

The theme for this year’s International Day is ‘Take a Stand Against Ageism’.

Speaking at the event, Minister McEntee said, “Growing old should never be considered as a burden on society, as the knowledge, experience and skill sets acquired over a lifetime are invaluable. As a society we are challenging the stereotypes which older people can face through ensuring that older people are enabled to participate fully in the activities of their communities, that we foster a positive attitude towards our older family and friends, and, importantly, that older people have a positive attitude towards themselves. It is by ensuring that older people can play an active role in society that issues such as loneliness, feelings of isolation, and ageism can be tackled”.