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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Frailty in older people

Adults with frailty may not be as strong or as healthy as they used to be. Everyday activities might be harder for them. They are likely to find it harder to bounce back and recover from events like illnesses, injuries and surgery than in previous years.

Frailty is more common in older adults. But being older does not necessarily mean you will be frail.

It is important to know if you have frailty. If you have frailty, something that seems straightforward can cause a substantial change to your health. You may not have the same ability to bounce back and recover as you used to. Knowing this can help you and your whānau (family) prepare for a change in your health. It can also help you to prioritise actions that increase your body's resilience and prevent frailty or stop you becoming frailer.

Older people with frailty have a higher risk of:

Causes and risk factors of frailty

Common risk factors of frailty include:

Diagnosing frailty

Your doctor will diagnose frailty by considering many factors. These include your health conditions and physical fitness. They will consider:

There are several scores and questionnaires used to help health professionals diagnose frailty. An example of these is the Rockwood Clinical Frailty Scale.

Self-care for frailty

There are ways you can help prevent frailty or stop it getting worse. The most important ways are:

Other ways to help prevent frailty or stop it getting worse include:

It can be hard to make changes and create good habits. Consider using the LifeCurve online tool or app. It provides a personalised package with movement routines and hints and tips on how to age well, stay active and be safe.

Consider sharing your frailty diagnosis with friends and whānau so they can help support you to make changes.

Getting help with frailty

Recognising frailty early is important. Your healthcare providers will take into account your frailty when they make health care recommendations to you.

Some of the things your healthcare providers may do to help reduce the impact of frailty include:

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Page created April 2024.


See also:

Home care and community support

Support for getting active

Page reference: 1339914

Review key: HIFOP-1339914