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Updated on November 6, 2020

How to measure Frailty in the Elderly

The global prevalence of frailty is between 4-59% and it increases with age because our body slows down with natural wear and tear.  Frailty can be measured using a variety of methods by your doctor.  The principle of all these measurement methods is the same; the more things that are wrong with you, the more likely you are to be frail

FI Score = Number of health deficits present / Number of health deficits measured

The Frailty Index (FI) Score is a predictor of vulnerability to poor outcomes and is strongly correlated to the risk of death. Higher scores imply the person is more frail.  Some of the health deficits which are often used for measurements are show in the table below.

How to do a FI Score

1. Count the number of deficits your family member has using the table below.  The Table has a list of 35 possible deficits

2. Divide the number of deficits by 35

3. The answer is the FI Score (the higher the score, the worse the frailty)

Table: List of Health Deficits used for for the Measurement

Heart FailureStrokeHypertensionHypotensionDiabetes
Peripheral vascular diseaseIschemic heart diseaseAtrial FibrillationStomach ulcerHeart valve disease
ArthritisHip FractureOsteoporosisArthritisUnstable or prone to falls
Difficulty hearingVision impairmentBladder infectionUrine incontinenceBowel incontinence
Taking > 6 medicinesNeed help with dressingHouseboundSocially vulnerableImpaired mobility
Weight lossDifficulty breathingRespiratory diseaseWound infectionPressure sore
DizzynessDementia or confusionParkinson DiseaseDepressionSleep disorder

Click to view Loud&ClearFilms video on Frailty

Most Simple Method to check if your family members are frail or not

The easiest method to check if your family member is frail is by doing the following 2 tests within the time limit. 

  • Gait Speed.  If the person takes more than 5 seconds to walk 4 meters = FRAIL
  • Timed Up & Go Test (TUGT). If the person takes more than 12 seconds to get up from a chair, walk 3 metres, turn around to walk back to the chair and sit down again = FRAIL

Click to view CDC video on TUG Test

It is important to identify frailty early because early stages of frailty are potentially reversible by targeted intervention by your doctor

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Disclaimer. TELEME blog posts contains general information about health conditions and treatments. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The information is not advice and should not be treated as such. 

If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition, you should seek immediate medical attention from your doctor or other professional healthcare providers. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.

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