Getting older means most people will experience slowness when walking and tiredness most of the time. Frailty is a condition that occurs in older adults, causing them to become weak, and as a result, they find things hard to do.

Frailty extends beyond growing weak and tired. As a result, frail patients lack the energy needed to carry out everyday duties and experience uncontrollable weight loss. Unfortunately, unexplainable weight loss is not a result of exercise or a change in diet.

What are the common signs of frailty?

Older, frail people will have trouble performing day-to-day activities. As a result, frail adults cannot get out of bed, get dressed in time, go to the toilet, or get around the house. They will have trouble with their balance, feel weak often, and fear falling.

Other signs include:

  • Weight loss
  • Exhaustion
  • Inactivity
  • Slowness when walking

Age is the leading cause of frailty because the body changes as you age. For example, an older person may become slower, experience muscle aches and pain, and take longer to do certain things. 

Who is at risk?

Age is one of the main reasons for frailty. However, certain conditions, such as diabetes and dementia, can increase the risk of frailty. Chronic conditions can worsen frailty because chronic inflammation puts more strain on the body. As a result, the patient may develop poor muscle function, leading to anaemia.

Sarcopenia refers to reduced muscle mass and loss of strength. Poor muscle mass and reduced strength will also lead to frailty.

How do you manage frail patients?

A healthy and wholesome diet and positive lifestyle changes can help maintain a frail body. For example, a dietician will recommend the patient introduce more protein in their diet to increase muscle strength. Sometimes, liquid meal replacements are required to prevent uncontrollable weight loss. Dr Coetzer will recommend including more vitamin D to keep bones and muscles healthy, functional and strong.

Staying active forms an integral part of maintaining muscle strength. It is often recommended that patients try new forms of exercise, such as resistance training, yoga, walking and Tai Chi.

A crossword a day keeps the mind healthy and active. Mental health is essential during this stage of life, which is why many older people need to stay connected with their loved ones and safeguard the health of their minds by challenging themselves mentally.

Quote IconLove and respect old-aged people because you are ageing too.