CFAS Wales

Research Information

The CFAS-Wales project will examine five core research areas:

  • Incidence and prevalence:

Estimates and projections about the incidence and prevalence of dementia in the UK are often based on research conducted 10-15 years ago, such as the original CFAS project in the mid 1990’s. There have been major changes in the lifestyles, life experiences and life expectancy enjoyed by older people since the original CFAS study, as well as potentially significant advances in the symptomatic treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. In light of these changes the existing CFAS data is no longer enough, and it is imperative to get up-to-date information about the incidence and prevalence of dementia in Wales, so that future estimates and projections are both accurate and applicable to today’s society.

  • Social networks:

Social networks play an important role in terms of both the provision of care for those with dementia and as a protective factor against cognitive decline. Increases in family breakdown and reconstitution as well as significant changes in society since CFAS-I may have resulted in considerable differences in the social support network of older people between cohorts. The social networks research, led by Professor Vanessa Burholt at Swansea University, will look at how social networks change over a two year period, their relationship to cognitive impairment, and if there are generational differences between the current cohorts and those from CFAS-I. In essence, the project hopes to gain a greater understanding of the consequences of possible social network differences in relation to changes in cognitive impairment.

  • Resilience:

Resilience is about doing okay or even quite well in the face of adversity, and may contribute to how some older people are better able than others to negotiate difficult life circumstances. In the case of cognitive impairment it can help a person enjoy a greater sense of well-being despite possible changes in their memory, thinking, and health status. Resilience may be an important psychological resource influencing how older people respond to, manage and cope with the changes that lead to cognitive impairment and influence the extent to which these changes become overwhelming. Given the importance of resilience in the experience of well-being, the CFAS-Wales study, under the lead of Dr Gill Windle at Bangor University, will examine the relationship between resilience and health challenges such as cognitive impairment, and the extent to which people can maintain well-being, with the aim of addressing the question ‘why and how are some people more resilient than others?’

  • Cognitive reserve :

Lifestyle factors such as remaining physically and mentally active, and having a higher level of education may act as protective factors against cognitive impairment by increasing brain reserve.One possible protective factor that is particularly relevant to Wales is bilingualism.Bilingualism reflects a particular form of cognitive activity in which an individual is able to use one language and inhibit another competing language, perhaps providing an advantage in terms of cognitive control. There is evidence to suggest that being bilingual may delay the onset of dementia (Bialystok et al 2007). The CFAS-Wales study provides an ideal sample with which to further explore the role of bilingualism as a preventative factor, with populations that are a mix of socially and culturally homogenous Welsh/English bilingual and English monolingual speakers. The CFAS-Wales cognitive reserve research is led by Professor Linda Clare, Bangor University.

  • Nutrition:

Nutritional status - specifically a deficiency in vitamin B12, has been shown to be strongly associated with impaired cognitive function, an association independent of age and education (McCracken et al 2006; McCaddon et al 1998). Whilst we are aware of the importance of vitamin B12, what is not clear is how an individual’s social, psychological, physical and economic circumstances contribute to their vitamin B12 status. The socially, culturally and geographically diverse populations included in the CFAS-Wales study will enable a comprehensive analysis (under the lead of Dr Cherie McCracken at Liverpool University) of the interplay between biochemical, cultural and lifestyle factors to determine their relationship to overall cognitive function, as well as to specific cognitive domains such as language, thinking and memory.

  • PhD topics:

Jen Yates, Bangor University:

Mild cognitive impairment, well-being and mood.

Deborah Morgan, Swansea University:

The transient nature of loneliness in later life: A longitudinal cohort study.

Matt Roberts, Swansea Unviersity:

Environment, rurality, activity and cognitive impairment.

Lizzie Evans, Liverpool University:

The Mediating Role of Shopping in Later Life: More than Just the Acquisition of Food.

Carol Maddock, Swansea University:

The role of social support networks in the dementia literacy of older adults.

  • Wave 1 Questionnaires:

CFAS WALES Questionnaire Part 1 v3 Final July 11 - English

CFAS WALES Questionnaire Part IIv3 Final July 2011 - English

CFAS North Wales Part 1 version 2 8th Aug 2011 final - Cymraeg

CFAS North Wales Part 2 v3 8th August 2011 Final - Cymraeg

CFAS South Wales Part 1 V3 1st August 2011 - Cymraeg

CFAS South Wales Part 2 V3 8th August 2011 - Cymraeg

Essential Informant QuestionnaireWALESv2 FINAL 14July 2011 - English

EHAS North Wales v2 20th July 2011 Final - Cymraeg

EHAS South Wales v2 1st August 11 final - Cymraeg

HAS WALES English v2 19th July 11 Final - English

HAS North v2 1st August 2011final - Cymraeg

HAS South Wales v2 1st August 11 Final - Cymraeg

  • Wave 2 Questionnaires:

CFAS WALES Questionnaire Wave 2 Part 1 - English

CFAS WALES Questionnaire Wave 2 Part 2 - English

CFAS Wales Questionnaire Wave 2 Part 1 - Cymraeg

CFAS Wales Questionnaire Wave 2 Part 2 - Cymraeg