The Successful Aging Program, a part of the UC Irvine Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders (UCI MIND), is dedicated to advancing knowledge about the cognitive and physiological changes that occur in normal aging. Since 1989, hundreds of older adults have contributed their time and effort to helping scientists uncover ways to age successfully, that is, free of disabilities such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Who can join the Successful Aging Program?
Healthy men and women age 65 or older who are primarily English- or Spanish-speaking and willing to be followed across multiple years.
What are the requirements to participate?
To enroll in the program, you must agree to three requirements. First, we ask that you come in once a year to complete the comprehensive physical, neurological, and neuropsychological evaluations. Secondly, you must have a “study partner” who knows you well (e.g., a spouse, adult child, or close friend) that can attend the appointments to answer questions about your mood and everyday functional abilities (e.g., preparing meals, performing household chores, and handling finances). Finally, we ask that you agree to donate your brain at time of death so that scientists can investigate the microscopic brain changes taking place as we age. This last requirement can be waived for minority individuals whose cultural and/or religious beliefs oppose brain autopsy.
What can I expect when I come in for my appointment?
The comprehensive annual evaluation, which is performed by a team of highly qualified medical professionals, takes approximately 2½ to 3 hours to complete and includes the following three components:
General physical exam that includes a review of your medical history and medications, as well as taking vital signs (e.g., blood pressure, pulse rate, height, weight).
Neurological exam of your sensory and motor functioning, gait, balance, and coordination to detect any signs of stroke, metabolic disorders, or degenerative diseases.
Neuropsychological assessment of your recent memory and other mental abilities (e.g., orientation, attention, language, visual-spatial, problem-solving, and reasoning skills) in order to identify your cognitive strengths and weaknesses.
What is my study partner doing during my appointment?
While you are completing the physical, neurological, and neuropsychological examinations, another clinician interviews your study partner to gather information about your mood, everyday living skills, and overall well-being. This interview takes approximately 30-45 minutes to complete and once finished, your study partner is not required to stay for the remainder of your assessment.
Is there any cost to participate in this program?
The comprehensive annual evaluation is performed at no cost to you.
What if I no longer wish to participate?
Participation is entirely voluntary an you can withdraw from the program at any time.
Monitoring Your Health Status: Each year, after your evaluation, our clinical team will provide you with a detailed report that enables you to monitor your health from year-to-year. Should we detect any change in your physical and/or cognitive functioning, we will notify you, attempt to determine the underlying cause, and recommend appropriate follow-up steps.
Opportunities to Participate in Additional Research Studies: Although not required, older adults being followed in the Successful Aging Program may participate in a variety of studies (e.g., brain imaging, surveys about exercise, and focus groups) being conducted by UCI-affiliated researchers.
Contributing to the Advancement of Medical Science: Findings from your annual evaluations will help scientists to better understand the normal aging process and improve identification, diagnosis, and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and other age-related neurodegenerative disorders.
How do I sign up?
To enroll in the Successful Aging Program, please call (949) 824-2382.