Most studies of aging emphasize the negatives: disability, dementia, depression. At the Stein Institute for Research on Aging researchers are focused on studying successful or healthy aging. From the lab to the individual, these studies are focusing on what goes right in the aging process. Understanding what defines and predicts successful or healthy aging requires contributions from basic sciences like neurobiology and genetics, along with input from clinical and social scientists, such as physicians and medical anthropologists. Large-scale investigation of successful cognitive aging using state-of-the-art methodology and investigators from various related disciplines has been a relatively recent phenomenon.
The UCSD Successful Aging Evaluation (SAGE) Study is a prospective cohort study of 1,800 randomly selected, demographically representative, community-dwelling residents of San Diego County who are twenty-one years of age and older. This longitudinal study will focus on the cognitive and emotional aspects of successful aging across the lifespan. All participants in the cohort will complete a brief telephone interview and an extensive, annual mail-in survey questionnaire that covers a broad range of topics related to successful aging. In addition, participants will be asked to provide a saliva sample to be used to gather genetic information about various aspects of aging.
The SAGE Study is not open to volunteers - because of the study's random sampling design, participants must enter the study through a random selection/phone recruitment process.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The purpose of The UCSD SAGE Study is to investigate what factors (emotional, cognitive, genetic, social, physical, etc.) are associated with successful aging across the lifespan.
The UCSD Successful Aging Evaluation (SAGE) Study is a prospective cohort study of 1,800 randomly selected, demographically representative, community-dwelling residents of San Diego County who are twenty-one years of age and older. This longitudinal study will focus on the cognitive and emotional aspects of successful aging. All participants in the cohort will complete a brief telephone interview and an extensive, annual mail-in survey questionnaire that covers a broad range of topics related to successful aging. In addition, participants will be asked to provide a saliva sample to be used to gather genetic information about various aspects of aging.
To be included in the study, participants must:
Have been selected through the random selection process
- Be 21 years old or older
- Be physically and mentally able to participate in a phone interview and to complete a paper and pencil mail survey
- Be capable of providing informed consent
- Be English speaking
- Individuals meeting the following criteria will be excluded from participating in the study:
- People who reside in a nursing home or other congregate housing or who require daily, skilled nursing care
- People with a diagnosis of dementia
- People with a terminal diagnosis or who are receiving hospice care
- People planning to move outside of San Diego County within the next 3 years
The need for studying elderly populations is becoming more critical as our population ages. By the year 2030 in the US, the number of people aged 65 years and older will double from 35 million to 70 million. Research of this type can help us to better understand and more precisely characterize what it means to "age successfully." In order to gain a better understanding of aging and what it means to age successfully across the lifespan, we have expanded our SAGE study to include individuals ages 21 and older. Uncovering which factors contribute most to successful aging may aid in the development of prevention and treatment approaches that can help people maintain their emotional and cognitive functioning and preserve their quality of life as they age.
Information gathered from this study may help us and other researchers design treatments, interventions and educational tools to help people maintain emotional and cognitive functioning as they grow older, which can enhance people's quality of life.
We start with the idea that successful aging is a multidimensional construct involving the physical, functional, cognitive, spiritual, and emotional aspects of life. Our working definition of successful aging combines relatively low levels of physical disability with relatively high levels of cognitive and emotional functioning.
A longitudinal study is a type of research study that involves repeated observations of the same items over long periods of time. Through the repeated observation of the same individuals, researchers can track how changes happen over time.
For UCSD SAGE Study participants
With your help, we can better understand how aging affects people. If you choose to participate in the study, you will be helping us learn more about what helps people age successfully.
There is no cost to participate in the study.
All participants will be compensated for their time after completing the telephone interview ($10) and after completing (and returning) both the mail-in survey and saliva sample ($25). In addition, participants will be compensated after completing their yearly follow-up survey ($20).
The main Successful Aging Evaluation (SAGE) Study is designed so that participants may complete the study (telephone interview, mail-in survey, and saliva sample collection) in their own homes, on their own schedule.
If you agree to be contacted to hear more about participation in other studies associated with the SAGE Study, and you choose to participate, you may be asked to come to the UCSD campus for in-person assessments related to that study.
If you have consented to participate in the study, we will need your mailing address in order to send you your cash compensation for completing the study (telephone interview, initial mail-in survey and/or saliva sample, annual follow-up survey). We will also need to send you follow up information as part of the study.
With the approval of the study's principal investigator, Dilip Jeste, MD, the data obtained from this study may be shared for scientific analysis only with affiliated researchers/organizations. These shared data will not include any personal identifying information. The UCSD Institutional Review Board (the university office in charge of protecting the rights and welfare of research participants) will also have access to de-identified study data. Information (including your name and contact information) will never be shared with 3rd parties unrelated to these research purposes.
The information you give us in the form of answers to research questions will be saved in a database for research purposes only. Your answers will be kept separate from your name and any other identifying information. All study staff have been trained in University of California confidentiality and data security policies and are required to follow these policies at all times.
We have a partnership with a research company name California Survey Research Services (CSRS, for short) based in Van Nuys, California. CSRS staff are responsible for the initial recruitment phone calls (like the one you may have received). They are also conducting the telephone interviews. After the telephone interview is finished, CSRS's role is done and any future contact participants have will be with UCSD SAGE Study staff in San Diego, CA. CSRS carefully follows the same confidentiality and data security rules as staff at UCSD to ensure the privacy of your data.
Faculty researchers affiliated with the Stein Institute will be designing new studies that will require participants. As those studies open for recruitment, you will receive a letter or a phone call inviting you to participate if you meet the study specific criteria. You can pick and choose which of these studies, if any, you want to participate in and it will not affect your participation in the SAGE study.
You may revoke your consent to participate at any time by submitting a statement in writing to the study's principal investigator:
Dilip Jeste, MD
The SAGE Study
9500 Gilman Drive, #0993
La Jolla, CA 92093-0993
Or you can withdraw your consent to participate by contacting study staff by telephone at 1-866-755-SAGE (7243).
No data received after the date of your withdrawal will be used. The information you provided while your consent was in effect will be added to the study database unless you request specifically to have all your data removed.
To revoke your consent from both studies, you can send each principal investigator a written statement saying that you would like to withdraw from their respective studies. Or you may call our office at 1-866-755-SAGE (7243) and specify which studies you would like to withdraw from.
If you would like more information about the UCSD SAGE Study, please call us at 1-866-755-SAGE (7243).
We will be providing some descriptive statistics (how many people are participating, age ranges, etc.) as the study progresses.
Questions about completing the UCSD SAGE Study in-home survey
You may fill out the survey using either pencil or pen.
We ask that you fill out the survey as completely as possible. However, you do not have to answer any questions that you do not want to answer. If you are uncomfortable answering a question, go ahead and leave it blank and proceed to the next question.
We want to assure you that all your answers are kept confidential—none of your responses will be associated with your name or other personally identifying information.
If you have reviewed the provided instructions for a question and are still unsure about how to proceed, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call toll free 1-866-755-SAGE and a staff member will assist you.
No, there is no deadline. We do ask that you complete the survey as soon as you are able and mail it back to us in a timely fashion—as soon as we receive your completed survey we will be able to mail your compensation.
It may take up to 4 weeks from the time you mail us your survey until you receive your compensation. If more than 4 full weeks have passed since you mailed the survey back to us and you still have not received your compensation, please call 1-866-755-SAGE (7243).
Your compensation for completing the phone interview was mailed to you in the same packet as the in-home survey. If you have checked your survey packet carefully and still have not found your phone interview compensation, please call 1-866-755-SAGE (7243).
If I have questions along the way, who can I contact?
Please contact us toll free at 1-866-755-SAGE (7243).
For information about your rights as a research subject at UCSD, click here: