By Michelle Ferara
Frailty can be reversed and is preventable…it also increases the risk of geriatric hospitalization, institutionalization and an earlier death-so we need to pay attention when we notice the symptoms. Did you know: 15% of Canadians have a formal diagnosis of Frailty-but many more go undiagnosed and unattended because they are isolated?
Frailty indicators are: physical (declining), socio-economic (limited money may mean poor nutrition or not hiring a caregiver) and co-morbidity (multiple medical issues that are overwhelming without help and regular care). Signs of increasing frailty include extreme weakness, abnormal gait and balance, visual impairments, low level of physical activity, isolation/caregiver gaps/poverty. It can also include cognitive impairment, depression, multiple medications and or medical issues.
To prevent frailty, we need to optimize exercise, caregiver support, healthcare, nutrition, environment supports, attend to mobility and oversee medications and deliverance of them.
If we notice what is really going on and step up the circle of care, we can prevent or improve frailty issues which affect quality of life for many elderly people. A first step would be taking your loved elder to the family doctor with your concerns….a little attention goes a long way!