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Welcome to The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA)

The Irish LongituDinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) is a large-scale, nationally representative, longitudinal study on ageing in Ireland, the overarching aim of which is to make Ireland the best place in the world to grow old.

TILDA collects information on all aspects of health, economic and social circumstances from people aged 50 and over in a series of data collection waves once every two years. TILDA is unique amongst longitudinal studies in the breadth of physical, mental health and cognitive measures collected. This data, together with the extensive social and economic data, makes TILDA one of the most comprehensive research studies of its kind both in Europe and internationally.

News & Events


September 2017

One in eight older adults in Ireland are deficient in vitamin D

  • An innovative map shows vitamin D deficiency prevalence rates across Ireland
  • Provinces such as Connacht/Ulster and Munster have higher incidences of deficiency compared to Leinster across all seasons

Dublin, September 4th 2017 - Researchers from The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) at Trinity College Dublin have shown for the first time that vitamin D deficiency (<30 nmol/L) is common among adults over the age of 50 in Ireland. The research shows that there are wide variations in vitamin D deficiency across the different provinces of Ireland, and that these are dependent on lifestyle.

Read more here

Click for a larger version

August 2017

New TILDA research on blood pressure finds increased rates of falls and blackouts

Dr Donal Sexton, research Fellow at TILDA, investigated whether results from the US study SPRINT held true in the TILDA sample. The research found contrasting results, with falls and blackouts up to five times higher in the TILDA study compared to the US study.

The study is published in the Journal of the American Medical Assoication and can be found here.

Or click here to read more about the research.

Free Online Course: Achieving Sustainable Development

What is the future of the world around us? What challenges do we face to address conflict, improve healthcare, build sustainable cities, and have access to clean water and sanitation? How will we know that we are having an impact in tackling these challenges?

The Trinity International Development Initiative (TIDI), at Trinity College Dublin, presents a new free online course (MOOC) "Achieving Sustainable Development". Launching on 11 September 2017, and running for four weeks. Read more about the course and register here.

"Explore the challenges in achieving five of the global United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions; Good Health and Well-Being; Clean Water and Sanitation; Sustainable Cities and Communities; and Gender Equality. Through case studies from Ireland, Colombia, India, Uganda and Korea, you will work through possible solutions to achieving sustainable development in our world. Find out how FARC rebels in Colombia are being reintegrated into society; why urban areas are changing how we think about sanitation; why the rapid growth of cities is changing how we think about urban mobility; and how tackling HIV is closely related to food security.

Critically examine the ways in which development really can be sustainable, its impact on communities, and how it can make a difference to real lives. This course is for anyone interested in the future of our world and how we can improve it.

Register today through the Futurelearn platform and we look forward to joining you on 11 September to learn how together we can achieve sustainable development."

July 2017

TILDA provides evidence at the Citizen’s Assembly

On Saturday 8 July, TILDA Research Director Christine McGarrigle spoke at the Citizen's Assembly, presenting TILDA evidence on "Creating Opportunities in Retirement, Evidence from TILDA". The presentation forms part of a meeting by the Assembly to consider how best to respond to the challenges and opportunities of an ageing population.

Dr McGarrigle discussed findings from the TILDA Wave 3 Report detailing the contribution that older people make to their families and communities. Her presentation was at 15.20, and can be viewed via a live stream here.

The report is available here.

June 2017

New TILDA study examines retirement income and quality of life in older age

Dublin, June 20th, 2017 -A new report released by The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA), Trinity College Dublin, reveals that retirement income is positively associated with quality of life. The research investigates the relationship between income and quality of life in older age in Ireland.

Looking at over 8,000 people aged over 50 in Ireland the research found that individuals living in households with higher incomes experience a higher quality of life. Focusing on the 325 individuals who transitioned into retirement during the survey period (between 2009 and 2015), the report found that it is actual income in retirement, rather than the proportionate change in someone's income from that received before retirement, that affects quality of life in older people.

Read more about the findings here

To read the full report, click here

Prof. Susie O'Callaghan awarded 2017 Provost's Teaching Award.

Congratulations to TILDA Research Fellow, Prof. Susie O'Callagan, who has been awarded a Provost's Teaching Award. This award is in recognition of enthusiasm and commitment in ensuring students receive quality teaching and learning and celebrates academic staff who have made an outstanding contribution in the pursuit of teaching excellence in the University.

Read more about the award here.

May 2017

May Measurement Month

May Measurement Month is a global initiative led by two organisations representing the world's leading cardiologists and researchers specialising in hypertension - the International Society of Hypertension and the World Hypertension League.

During May 2017, millions of people will have their blood pressure measured in one of the biggest public screening exercises the world's ever seen.

Every year 10 million people around the world die needlessly because of high blood pressure, making it the planet's single biggest killer. They will suffer a stroke, have a heart attack, or die from another cardiovascular complication linked to hypertension - the medical term for high blood pressure.

To find out more about the initiative and how you can take part in it either by getting screened or setting up a screening site, please click here.

April 2017

Only one in ten older adults in Ireland rely on public transport - new TILDA report

  • 58% of adults aged 50 and over living in rural areas rate the public transport services in their area as poor or very poor
  • Report authors stress need for improved transport networks that meet the needs of older people, especially in rural areas.

April 13th, 2017:

A new report launched today by The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) at Trinity College Dublin and supported by the Road Safety Authority shows that most older adults rely on cars for transport, as opposed to public transport. It details major differences in the use of public transport between Dublin residents and those living in rural Ireland and reports a serious level of dissatisfaction with rural public transport amongst the over 50s living outside Dublin.

The report details how patterns of transport use change with increasing age and highlights the importance of accessibility to quality transport options for social participation, mental health and wellbeing. The report authors suggest that as the population ages, there is an increasing need for improved transport networks and services that meet the needs of older adults, especially in rural areas.

To read more, click here.

The full report is available here.

Dr Irene Mosca Receives 'Excellence in Mental Health Policy and Economics Research Award'

Congratulations to TILDA researcher Dr. Irene Mosca and Prof. Alan Barrett (ESRI) on receiving the 'Excellence in Mental Health Policy and Economics Research Award'.

The award was assigned for the following article: Mosca, I. and Barrett, A. (2016) "The Impact of Voluntary and Involuntary Retirement on Mental Health: Evidence from Older Irish Adults", Journal of Mental Health Policy and Economics, 19(1):33-44, during the Ceremony of the Awards at the Opening of the Thirteenth Workshop on Costs and Assessment in Psychiatry - Mental Health Policy and Economics, Scuola Grande di San Giovanni Evangelista, Venice, March 24-26, 2017.

Dr Mosca and Prof. Barrett were assigned the award on the basis of scientific merit in the development of the interdisciplinary field of mental health policy and economics. All articles published in the Journal of Mental Health Policy and Economics during the years 2015 and 2016 were eligible for consideration and were judged retrospectively by the Associate Editors of the Journal.

For more information on the 'Excellence in Mental Health Policy and Economics Research Award', please visit

March 2017

New TILDA report on ageing in Ireland launched today

March 7th, 2017:

The third major report by the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) at Trinity College Dublin was published today. This report presents findings from Wave 3 of TILDA, which impact on the health and well-being of Ireland’s adult population aged 54 years and over and maps changes that have occurred since the first wave of TILDA data collection in 2010.

To read more, click here.

The full report is available here.

February 2017

Sexual activity of Ireland’s older adults analysed in new TILDA research

  • Study finds majority of adults over 50 are sexually active on a regular basis.
  • Being sexually active is linked with better health and more positive perceptions of ageing

February 14th, 2017:

A new study released by the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing at Trinity College Dublin on Valentine’s day paints a positive picture of the little studied and infrequently discussed sexual lives of older adults in Ireland. The research, which involves more than 8000 adults over the age of 50, has found that frequent sexual activity is the norm with 59% being sexually active and of those, 69% sexually active weekly or monthly.

The researchers found that being sexually active has positive implications for a person’s health and their perception of ageing. They also found differences between men and women in terms of importance attributed to sex and frequency of sexual activity as each gender got older. The study also paints a picture of strong relationships amongst Ireland’s older adults with a large majority of people reporting that they had a very close relationship with their spouse or partner and living with a spouse or partner being a key determinant in whether someone is sexually active.

To read more, click here.

The full report is available here.

January 2017

Congratulations to TILDA researcher Joanna Orr on receiving IRC Postgraduate Scholarship

TILDA researcher Joanna Orr has been awarded an Irish Research Council Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship, awarded to carry out research into the social determinants of women's health in later life.

Joanna's PhD project will focus on older women's ability to maintain physical, cognitive and psychosocial wellbeing, and the mechanisms behind the role of gender in ageing. Ageing pathways related to women's roles within their families, workplaces and communities, as well as their religious and social engagement will be explored.

December 2016

Study finds new cardiovascular predictor of mortality in older people

December 6th, 2016:

Research from the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) shows for the first time that the speed of heart rate change in response to standing up predicts mortality in older people.

When we stand up our heart rate speeds up then settles. The rate at which this happens in older people has been shown for the first time to predict mortality four years later according to new research from TILDA published in Circulation Research, a leading journal of the American Heart Association.

To read more, click here.

The full report is available here.

October 2016

Changes in entitlement to medical cards results in changes in number of GP visits for over 50s

October 27th, 2016:

A new report launched today by The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) at Trinity College Dublin, details the impact that changes to an older person’s entitlement to a medical card has on their use of health services, such as GP visits, flu vaccines, medications and hospital care. The report authors found that changes in people’s entitlement to medical cards are associated with changes in their use of GP services and level of medications dispensed.

Using data from two waves of TILDA in 2010 and 2012 they found that in the over 50s:

  • Gaining a full medical or GP visit card is associated with 1.3 extra GP visits per annum. Compared to the level of GP visiting for this group in 2010, which was 3 visits, this represents an increase of approximately 43 per cent.
  • For those who lose a full medical or GP visit card, the number of GP visits falls by 1.2 visits per annum. This is equivalent to a fall of approximately 29 per cent from the 2010 level which was 4 annual visits.
  • Gaining a full medical card was associated with a significant increase in the numbers of medications taken regularly.
  • Getting a medical card was not, however, associated with any significant changes in the probability of a flu vaccine, the number of emergency department visits, outpatient visits or inpatient nights.
  • 12.6 per cent of the over 50s who did not have a full medical or GP visit card in 2010, gained one by 2012.
  • For those with a full medical or GP visit card in 2010, just 3.5 per cent had lost their full medical or GP visit card by 2012.
  • To read more, click here.

    The full report is available here.

    Trinity and Peking University to join forces on ageing collaboration

    24 October 2016

    Trinity Provost and President, Dr Patrick Prendergast, visited one of China's top universities, Peking University(PKU) for discussions on a research collaboration on ageing. It formed part of the Irish Government mission to China and he was joined by the Deputy Secretary of the Department of Education and Skills, Mary Doyle for the talks.

    China's ageing population is changing rapidly. Over the past 27 years it has doubled from 7% to 14%.

    Trinity Provost & President, Dr Patrick Prendergast said: "Ageing is a global challenge and finding solutions requires innovation and collaboration across national boundaries.

    Trinity leads The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) and together with PKU we can share our research and experience to our mutual benefit and global significance." TILDA is part of a global family of 14 national longitudinal studies on ageing. They include China, US, Brazil, India, England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Mexico, South Korea and Japan.

    China is one of highest international users of the data gathered by TILDA, accounting for over 8% of total global usage.It is planned that TILDA will collaborate with the Centre for Healthy Ageing and Family Studies at PKU.

    Trinity is also a leading university in geriatric medicine and age-related health care. It is therefore well placed internationally to lead on education and training in this area. The collaboration will build on other research and student mobility agreements Trinity has with the top university.

    Full Press Release

    TILDA researcher Dr Aisling O'Halloran awarded presidential medal prize at IGS 2016

    TILDA researcher Dr Aisling O'Halloran was awarded a presidential medal prize for her poster at the The 64th Annual & Scientific Meeting of the Irish Gerontological Society 2016 in Killarney. The conference theme was Developing Cultures of Excellence in Ageing and Exploring the Needs of Marginalised Groups. The research presented used TILDA interview and health assessment data to investigate circulating blood biomarkers in older adults with frailty. Dr. Aisling O'Halloran’s Award-Winning Poster.

    Newsletter 2015

    The research concluded that considerable variability exists in relation to associations between blood biomarkers and frailty, depending on the frailty instrument used. The identification of consistent cross-sectional associations with more than one frailty instrument strengthens the evidence that a biomarker may be correlated with frailty over time. However, causation cannot be inferred using cross-sectional data.

    Dr. O'Halloran is a CARDI Research Fellow, and is currently funded through the CARDI Leadership Programme in Ageing Research.

    TILDA Research Fellow wins prize for best Oral Presentation

    Congratulations to TILDA Research Fellow Dr. Mark Canney who won the prize for best Oral Presentation at the recent Medical Gerontology Open Day, Mercer's Institute for Successful Ageing, 2016. The award was presented by Professor Martin O'Donnell, the Professor of Translational Medicine at NUI Galway and Interim Director of the HRB Clinical Research Facility, Galway.

    Dr. Canney's research investigated the distribution of kidney biomarkers with advancing age in community-dwelling older adults.

    September 2016

    Strategies for Successful Ageing

    It was a free course that offered tips for healthy ageing and wellbeing.

    The 5 week course started on the 26th September 2016.

    During this course, distinguished academics and physicians at Trinity College Dublin presented on world-leading research in successful ageing.

    This course is relevant for adults who wish to acquire strategies for successful ageing. No previous experience or qualifications are required.

    It may challenge many of assumptions you have about growing old, and give you tips on how to age successfully.

    Register your interest for next Strategies for Successful Ageing course at Future Learn!


    Topic Report: The impact of frailty on public health nurse service utilisation. Finding from The Irish longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA)

    A new report by The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing on older frail people’s use of public health nursing services in Ireland was launched today by Dr Lorna Roe of TILDA and the Centre for Health Policy and Management, Trinity College Dublin at the annual general meeting of the Institute of Community Health Nursing. The report examines the demographic and healthcare entitlements of older frail Irish people utilising Public Health Nursing services. The study was commissioned by the Institute of Community Health Nursing (ICHN).

    To read more, click here.

    To download the report, click here.

    TILDA 10 Year Anniversary Celebration

    Thursday, 8th September 2016:
    Trinity College Dublin celebrated the 10 year Anniversary of TILDA. From heart conditions to caring for grandchildren and from undiagnosed diabetes to the power of positive thought, the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) has spent a decade understanding Ireland’s older generation.

    Established in 2006, TILDA was designed to provide a nationally representative picture of ageing in Ireland. Understanding the characteristics, needs and contributions of older persons in Ireland is invaluable in helping us make Ireland one of the best place in the world to grow old.

    Watch RTE’s coverage of the event.

    Read the programme from the 10 year Anniversary.

    Uncovering the secrets of successful ageing - TILDA explores decade of research to understand a generation

    From heart conditions to caring for grandchildren and from undiagnosed diabetes to the power of positive thought, the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) has spent a decade understanding Ireland’s older generation. Trinity College Dublin will celebrate that milestone with 600 of the 8500 participants at a special event today, at which researchers and participants will consider the critical impact this research continues to have on the lives of older people.
    Such is the breadth and depth of the subjects TILDA’s research covers that policy makers, NGOs and others have used the findings as the evidence base for 52 policy and strategy documents covering: transport; health; jobs; pensions; carers; residential and home care; health and road safety public awareness campaigns; capacity planning for services; medical care and practice; IT; health insurance; dementia prevention; volunteering; taxation and the economy.

    The TILDA research team and principal investigator, Professor of Medical Gerontology at Trinity, Rose Anne Kenny, will give examples of how this research is changing policy and practice for older adults. To read more, click here

    Using publicly archived TILDA datasets

    Delivered by TILDA in conjunction with the Irish Social Science Data Archive (ISSDA) and Gateway to Global Aging.

    Date: 9th September 2016
    Venue: Trinity College Dublin
    Cost: Free

    10am - 1pm: Introduction to publicly available TILDA datasets.

    • Overview of TILDA.
    • Accessing and using TILDA data, available through ISSDA.
    • Accessing and using the digital library and harmonised TILDA dataset,
    • through the Gateway to Global Aging.

    Room: Maxwell Theatre (90 spaces)

    2pm - 4pm: Hands-on workshop using the harmonised TILDA dataset to do cross-country comparisons.

    Room: Áras an Phiarsaigh PC Lab 0.12 (20 spaces)

    Spaces are limited on both sessions. To confirm your place, please contact Gearóid O’Donnell:
    Tel: +353 1 896 2952

    For more information:

    Using publicly archived TILDA datasets Flyer

    Harmonized TILDA Brochure

    May 2016

    Professor Rose Anne Kenny presents on “How a longitudinal study can change the research landscape” at the Biomedical and Life Sciences Innovation Showcase.

    Watch her talk here

    TILDA 2016 Scientific Advisory Board Meeting

    The TILDA research team and affiliated researchers presented to members of the TILDA Scientific Advisory Board and other guests during the one-day event held at Trinity College Dublin.

    To read more, please click here

    Lecture on Irish Immigrants to the US Marks 10 Years of TILDA.

    Hollywood movies often portrayed the Irish as a poor and uneducated race of people. Yet like so many other Hollywood storylines, this image is just a myth. In fact Irish migrants to the US during the first half of the 20th century were on average as well educated as other European immigrants to the US, according to Professor James Smith, who delivered the lecture ‘Irish Immigrants and their Progeny around the World’ in Trinity College Dublin to mark the 10th anniversary of TILDA.
    To read more, click here

    January 2016

    You’re Only As Old As You Feel!

    Our attitudes to ageing can have a direct effect on our health

    Negative attitudes to ageing affect both physical and cognitive health in later years, new research reveals. The study from TILDA, at Trinity College Dublin, further reveals that participants with positive attitudes towards ageing had improved cognitive ability.

    To read more, click here

    TILDA December 2015 Newsletter now available online

    See what the TILDA team has been up to in 2015!

    Newsletter 2015

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Last updated 4 September 2017 by TILDA - Web Administration (Email).