Frailty: a public health perspective

Can J Public Health. Jul-Aug 1995;86(4):224-7.


Traditionally, frailty has been conceptualized as reflecting an inevitable decline in abilities usually associated with physical aspects of aging. More recent thinking now sees frailty as reflecting an interaction among individual factors and a range of environmental elements. These emerging models, however, continue to consider frailty as a condition that resides within the individual rather than a situation that exists for the individual. We present a new model that defines frailty as occurring when there is diminished ability to carry out the important practical and social activities of daily living. Factors related to the occurrence of frailty are considered, as are the theoretical and practice implications of viewing frailty as a social construction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Aged
  • Attitude to Health
  • Disabled Persons
  • Environment
  • Frail Elderly*
  • Geriatric Assessment
  • Health Promotion*
  • Health Services for the Aged*
  • Humans
  • Ontario
  • Public Health*