The article describes the process of identifying 100 community-dwelling elderly adults at risk for physical disability, yet not functionally disabled, for participation in a research project to develop appropriate exercise programs for at-risk elderly. Over a period of 14 months, initial contact was made with 941 older adults, 11% of whom (101 people) were eligible for and willing to complete all stages of the study protocol. The most successful recruitment strategies were a mass mailing followed by a telephone call and advertising in a newspaper with a large circulation (rather than a local paper). Aspects of the recruitment and retention of study participants are discussed.
Marx and Cohen-Mansfield are with the Hebrew Home of Greater Washington, Research Institute on Aging, 6121 Montrose Road, Rockville, MD 20852. Guralnik is with the Laboratory of Epidemiology, Demography and Biometry, Natl. Institute on Aging, Natl. Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892.