Frailty and disability in older adults with intellectual disabilities: results from the healthy ageing and intellectual disability study

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2012 May;60(5):934-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2012.03925.x.


Objectives: To obtain first insight into prevalence and correlates of frailty in older people with intellectual disability (ID).

Design: Population-based cross-sectional study in persons using formal ID services.

Setting: Three Dutch care provider services.

Participants: Eight hundred forty-eight individuals with borderline to profound ID aged 50 and older participating in the Healthy Ageing and Intellectual Disability (HA-ID) Study.

Measurements: All participants underwent an extensive health examination. Frailty was diagnosed according to Cardiovascular Health Study criteria. Associations between frailty and participant characteristics were investigated using multivariate logistic regression analysis.

Results: Prevalence of frailty was 11% at age 50 to 64 and 18% at age 65 and older. Age, Down syndrome, dementia, motor disability, and severe ID were significantly associated with frailty, but only motor disability had a unique association with frailty. In a regression model with these variables, 25% of the variance of frailty was explained.

Conclusion: At age 50 to 64, prevalence of frailty is as high as in the general population aged 65 and older (7-9%), with a further increase after the age of 65. Motor disability only partially explains frailty. Future studies should address health outcomes, causes, and prevention of frailty in this population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Disabled Persons / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Frail Elderly / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Intellectual Disability / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence