Fear of Frailty

by Lois Etienne on April 13, 2011

in Senior Health and Safety

As I get older, it gets easier after a day at work to sit in front of the television or the computer rather than do a load of laundry or sweep the kitchen floor. However, lack of activity can lead to a downward spiral of poor health resulting in frailty, a condition that threatens the mind, body and social life of older adults. Working in the home care industry, I’ve seen really old 60 year olds and really young 95 year olds. And even though we may not always define it the same way, we all know what frailty looks like.

We regularly see seniors who are literally trapped in their homes because they are too weak to perform many of the activities they need to remain safe and independent, or to even enjoy life. Seniors agree that staying physically active is a major challenge.  That challenge leads to another worry: the fear of losing their independence.

Frailty can be difficult to define, but medical professionals describe frailty as a syndrome of weakness, fatigue and decline in physical activity that may be triggered by hormonal or inflammatory changes or chronic disease states.  For some, frailty results from a heart attack or stroke, while another senior might experience falls and weight loss.

Frailty, though, can be both prevented and reversed by activity.  Through activity, seniors can build both physical and mental reserves that can help their bodies better tolerate problems that come with aging. So, I guess it’s time to get off of the couch!

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