Frailty has important implications for the care needs of older adults and how those needs are met. By recognizing frailty and measuring it objectively, clinicians can better engage patients and their loved ones in difficult discussions about treatment plans and prognosis, and ultimately deliver better palliative care.

There is emerging evidence of the role of certain nutrients as risk factors for frailty. However, people eat food, rather than nutrients, and no previous study has examined the association between dietary patterns empirically derived from food consumption and the risk of frailty in older adults.

Frailty is a biological syndrome that reflects a state of decreased physiological reserve and vulnerability to stressors. Upward of 20 frailty assessment tools have been developed, with most tools revolving around the core phenotypic domains of frailty—slow walking speed, weakness, inactivity, exhaustion, and shrinking—as measured by physical performance tests and questionnaires.

Frailty assessment provides a means of identifying older adults most vulnerable to adverse outcomes. Attention to frailty in clinical practice is more likely with better understanding of its prevalence and associations with patient characteristics. We sought to provide national estimates of frailty in older people.

Many frail older adults are thin, weak, and undernourished; this component of frailty remains a critical concern in the geriatric field. However, there is also strong evidence that excessive adiposity contributes to frailty by reducing the ability of older adults to perform physical activities and increasing metabolic instability. This scoping review explores the impact of being obese on physical frailty in older adults by summarizing the state of the science for both clinical markers of physical function and biomarkers for potential underlying causes of obesity-related decline. 

Informal caregivers are important resources for community-dwelling frail elderly. But caring can be challenging. To be able to provide long-term care to the elderly, informal caregivers need to be supported as well. The aim of this study was to review the current best evidence on the effectiveness of different types of support services targeting informal caregivers of community-dwelling frail elderly. 16 pages. Last reviewed April 2017.

This article provides a narrative review of current understanding of the definitions and distinguishing characteristics of each of these conditions, including their clinical relevance and distinct prevention and therapeutic issues, and how they are related. The authors goal was to provide a basis for distinguishing between these three important clinical conditions in older adults and showing how use of separate, distinct definitions of each can improve our understanding of the problems affecting older patients and lead to development of improved strategies for diagnosis, care, research, and medical education in this area. 9 pages. Last reviewed April 2017.

The purpose of this systematic review of randomized, controlled trials was to examine the exercise interventions to manage frailty in older people. 16 pages. Last reviewed April 2017.

To facilitate the spread of the Mobilization of Vulnerable Elders in Ontario (MOVE ON) intervention, this study aimed to develop a mapping guide that links identified barriers and intervention activities to behaviour change theory. 9 pages. Last reviewed April, 2017.

David Kanters presented this webinar about research that was done to evaluate the frailty of participants in the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA). A Frailty Index (FI) was constructed for CLSA participants based on the cumulative deficit model of frailty. A new frailty measurement tool was created and its construct validity evaluated.

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