Despite a significant increase in life expectancy and an increase in the proportion of older adults in our society, older adults in Denmark are an often overlooked group. Older adults are often considered as a homogeneous group and old age, especially after retirement, is viewed as one long life phase. Both scholars and NGOs working in the area of ageing have tried to change this view and portray a more realistic picture of older adults as a diverse and resourceful group. In 1997, an initiative was taken to create a longitudinal study of ageing, collecting information about the everyday life of older adults in Denmark.
The Danish Longitudinal Study of Ageing (DLSA) is a panel survey with respondents aged 52 years old and older who live in Denmark. The survey was founded in 1997 with the purpose of creating a longitudinal database for research within the social science and for analyses used in public administration. DLSA consists of 5 waves (collected in 1997, 2002, 2007, 2012 and 2017) and it enables examination of many important aspects of middle aged and older adults’ living conditions in Denmark, including retirement from the labor market, health and functionality, resources and care needs as well as social networks. Because the database is longitudinal, a large proportion of the respondents have participated several times. This allows us to allows us to investigate the data not only cross-sectionally (i.e. differences between age groups at a given point in time), but also longitudinally (i.e., cohort differences, time trends, individual development).
Since the beginning, DLSA has been widely used among researchers at VIVE – and many other research institutions in Denmark. Thus it has contributed to knowledge building in the field of social gerontology in Denmark. The database is an important resource in mapping and understanding circumstances which in particular apply to those who are in the late stages of their working life, those who have recently retired and those who have been retired for a long time.
The data collection for the latest survey has just been finalized with 10.062 participants in total. The MATURE research team is looking forward to taking a closer look at the data, which will provide a foundation for interesting analyses many years to come.