HALCyon brings together an interdisciplinary group of scientists working on nine UK cohort studies to understand three aspects of healthy ageing: physical and cognitive capability (the ability to undertake the physical and mental tasks of everyday living), psychological and social wellbeing (how people feel and how they function in terms of relationships and social activities), and the biology of ageing, including cortisol (one of the body's stress hormones), telomere length (the cell's natural clock that tells the body how old it is) and genetic factors.
The eight projects will investigate how individual factors such as early development, lifetime health, personality and nutrition, and characteristics of areas in which study members have lived influence these indicators of healthy ageing. These factors may explain why some older people live fulfilled and active lives and why differences exist between men and women, or between social groups. Some cohort members will be interviewed to find out how they understand their life history and experiences and their response to ageing.
Interactions between the scientists and experts in policy, practice and user involvement will ensure that the new knowledge gained will improve the lives of older people."