In the past decade, the population in Malaysia has been rapidly ageing. This poses new challenges and issues that threaten the ability of the elderly to independently age in place. A multistage cross-sectional study on 789 community-dwelling elderly individuals aged 60 years and above was conducted in an urban district in Malaysia to assess the geriatric syndrome of frailty. Using a multidimensional frailty index, we detected 67.7% prefrail and 5.7% frail elders. Cognitive status was a significant correlate for frailty status among the respondents as well as those who perceived their health status as very poor or quite poor; but self-rated health was no longer significant when controlled for sociodemographic variables. Lower-body weakness and history of falls were associated with increasing frailty levels, and this association persisted in the multivariate model. This study offers support that physical disability, falls, and cognition are important determinants for frailty. This initial work on frailty among urban elders in Malaysia provides important correlations and identifies potential risk factors that can form the basis of information for targeted preventive measures for this vulnerable group in their prefrail state.
Keywords: ageing; community-dwelling older people; fall; frailty; multidimensional frailty; walking speed.
© 2015 APJPH.