The Years Can Leave A Noticeable Mark On Seniors
We tend to know frailty when we see it. Someone hunched over, or moving slowly, or just skin and bones, or all of the above.
However, an actual definition of frailty is still being worked on by the medical community. It is not really a disease. It is more like a mixture of circumstances – the natural aging process combined with a variety of medical issues.
Gerontologists attempt to define it. Some feel that if you have at least 3 of 5 factors, you are frail. These factors include slow walking speed, little ability for physical activity, weakness, an unintentional lose of weight loss (10 lbs. or more in 1year) and exhaustion. (Known as the Fried Framework, after Dr. Linda Fried.)
Whether defined or not, frailty should be dealt with before it leads to more physical problems, avoidable accidents and psychological issues.
Frailty is age-related, but it is not caused by age. There are many seniors who do what is necessary to remain fit and active, and are not beleaguered by illnesses (many that are age-related) that lead to frailty.
For those seniors who are seen as frail, here are some of the issues that may cause their situation and lead to their frailty.
- Weight loss (unintentional).
- Poor nutrition.
- Loss of bone mass.
- Loss of muscle.
- Decrease in balance.
- Dementia and other cognitive problems.
- Loss/decrease of sight and hearing.
- Illnesses and disabilities, especially those that hamper mobility, energy and strength.Below are conditions and situations that are common among seniors and increase their risk of urinary tract infections.
Just like other health issues, frailty can lead to more problems. Here are some potential results.
- Inability to perform what used to be simple activities of daily living, such as bathing, grooming, transferring, etc.
- Increased disability and deteriorating mobility.
- Lack of self-confidence, and the loss of the confidence of their family and friends.
- Loss of independence.
- Depression and self-pity.
- Avoidance of activity, often due to self-consciousness and embarrassment.
- Accidents and falls.
- General decline in health, as well as higher incidences of hospitalization and occurrences of death.