The Canadian survey of health, lifestyle and ageing with multiple sclerosis: methodology and initial results.
BMJ Open. 2014 Jul 10;4(7):e005718. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2014-005718.
OBJECTIVE:People with multiple sclerosis (MS) are living longer so strategies to enhance long-term health are garnering more interest. We aimed to create a profile of ageing with MS in Canada by recruiting 1250 (5% of the Canadian population above 55 years with MS) participants and focusing data collection on health and lifestyle factors, disability, participation and quality of life to determine factors associated with healthy ageing.
PARTICIPANTS: People aged 55 years or older with MS symptoms more than 20 years.
RESULTS:Of the 921 surveys, 743 were returned (80.7% response rate). Participants (mean age 64.6±6.2 years) reported living with MS symptoms for an average of 32.9±9.5 years and 28.6% were either wheelchair users or bedridden. There was only 5.4% missing data and 709 respondents provided optional qualitative information. According to data derived from the 2012 Canadian Community Health Survey of Canadians above 55 years of age, older people with MS from this survey sample are about eight times less likely to be employed full-time. Older people with MS were less likely to engage in regular physical activity (26.7%) compared with typical older Canadians (45.2%). However, they were more likely to abstain from alcohol and smoking.
CONCLUSIONS: Despite barriers to participation, we were able to recruit and gather detailed responses (with good data quality) from a large proportion of older Canadians with MS. The data suggest that this sample of older people with MS is less likely to be employed, are less active and more disabled than other older Canadians.