A primary prerequisite for any epidemiological study is informed consent of study participants. Among the elderly, this may often be a difficult matter given the higher prevalence of cognitive and functional impairment compared to younger populations. Often, extensive data collections needed in many epidemiological studies may also be too exhausting for potential study participants with reduced general health status. In case of major cognitive impairment or dependence on nursing care, additional persons (relatives, professional care providers) have to be involved, which poses additional challenges with regard to legal issues, cooperation and validity of data.
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