09/13/2012 06:14 EDT | Updated 11/13/2012 05:12 EST

Study peers into Quebec's aging population

Researchers at McGill University are taking a closer look at the increasingly aging population of Quebec.

In 30 years, Quebec is expected to have one of the oldest populations in the western world. Some experts believe this will put a strain on the healthcare system.

The "Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging" is part of a massive study of 50,000 Canadians that will span two decades and focus on the quality of aging.

"I prefer to talk about aging well rather than healthy aging because we know older people are going to be subject to chronic disease and all sorts of other issues, financial issues. One of the goals of this study is to look at the aspects that will help them cope," said Christine Wolfson, the study's co-principal investigator.

Researchers hope to attract about 3,000 participants in Montreal. They are contacting people aged 45 to 85 at random and hope to measure the ways their bodies and lives change as they age.

Eleven research sites will be set across Canada. The study will last 20 years and will look at lifestyle, social and economic issues involved in aging.

"We're aging very differently than our parents," said Wolfson. "So we don't have a lot of information about aging in this new generation."

Wolfson adds that isolation among seniors is one issue that particularly concerns researchers. She said she believes the study will help people gain a better understanding of what causes social seclusion.