The Laureate Way

Articles to Help Families and Older Adults Manage the Challenges of Aging

Preventing Frailty In Older Adults

Preventing Frailty In Older Adults

As you might imagine, those who come to us have varying degrees of care needs – from those who might simply need help with medication management to those who have high care needs as a result of being medically frail. Medical frailty is somewhat common, yet preventing frailty in older adults is possible with the right steps.

What is frailty?

Usually it is a gradual progression, though sometimes it can be triggered by a significant medical event such as a stroke. When left unchecked, frailty most often leads to a spiral of decline including falls, immobility, hospitalization and even death.

Someone who is medically frail typically has multiple chronic medical conditions:

  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • congestive heart failure
  • depression
  • diabetes

Signs of medical frailty

  • loss of strength
  • weight loss
  • limited physical activity
  • lack of endurance
  • lethargy and fatigue

Physical Activity Fights Against Frailty

Frailty can be prevented. In a women’s study, Linda P. Fried, M.D., M.P.H., and scientists at Columbia and Johns Hopkins Universities found that frailty is the result of a systems failure in older adults, rather than a specific problem, disease or even chronological age.

The researchers studied women ages 70-79 and found that that half of those frail had three or more systems at abnormal levels, compared with 25% of the pre-frail and 16% of the non-frail population.

Individuals who are physically and mentally active, eating right and maintaining a healthy lifestyle often are able to delay or avoid the onset of frailty.

The benefits of senior living communities

For those of us who work in senior communities, we see that older adults who make the move to a senior community actually become more independent and active. One reason for this is that it is so easy to stay active. Each of our communities maintains a full calendar of lifestyle activities.

Whether you, or a loved one ends up moving into one of our communities or not, we want older adults to understand all the benefits of living in a senior community. So call and arrange a tour to learn what a senior living community really is all about.