The study of Asset and Health Dynamics (AHEAD) among the Oldest Old is currently funded as a competing supplement to the Health and Retirement Survey (HRS). AHEAD capitalizes on several cost-saving opportunities afforded by HRS. The HRS screening of some 69,000 households provided a unique opportunity to identify simultaneously households containing persons born in 1923 or earlier (aged 70+ in 1993). The labor intensive design phase of the HRS also yielded innovations in survey design (e.g., replicate sampling procedures, experimental modules, new approaches to non-response conversion) and measurement (e.g., bracketing non-responses to financial questions, probability scales, cognitive performance testing) which have important implications for understanding the dynamic interaction among health, financial well-being, and family resources in an older population. AHEAD has been supported by two awards under a cooperative agreement between NIA and the University of Michigan. The first award (U01 AG09740, 4/1/92-12/31/92) supported the design phase of AHEAD; the second and current award (U01 AG09740, 1/1/93-12/31/94) provides funds for baseline data collection. Like the HRS parent grant, the competing supplements provide support only for the collection and distribution of data to the research community. AHEAD largely shares senior research and field staffs with HRS and the two surveys have a common interest in health and wealth dynamics. Nonetheless, they warrant separate consideration because the substantive issues which motivate them are sufficiently distinct, reflecting important differences in the life-cycle stages of their target populations and the public policy and social contexts unique to these stages.
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