The aim of this study was to investigate trends in frailty and its relationship with mortality among older adults aged 64-84 years across a period of 21 years. We used data from 1995 to 2016 from the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam. A total of 7,742 observations of 2,874 respondents in the same age range (64-84 years) across 6 measurement waves were included. Frailty was measured with a 32-item frailty index, with a cutpoint of ≥0.25 to indicate frailty. The outcome measure was 4-year mortality. Generalized estimating equation analyses showed that among older adults aged 64-84 years the 4-year mortality rate declined between 1995 and 2016, while the prevalence of frailty increased. Across all measurement waves, frailty was associated with 4-year mortality (odds ratio = 2.79, 95% confidence interval: 2.39, 3.26). There was no statistically significant interaction effect between frailty and time on 4-year mortality, indicating a stable association between frailty and mortality. In more recent generations of older adults, frailty prevalence rates were higher, while excess mortality rates of frailty remained the same. This is important information for health policy-makers and clinical practitioners, showing that continued efforts are needed to reduce frailty and its negative health consequences.
Keywords: cohort study; frail older adults; frailty index; mortality.
© The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.