Frailty is not inevitable

Did you know that frailty is not an inevitable consequence of ageing?

That’s good news, with planners preparing the services and facilities that will be needed to prevent and manage the issue.

University of Adelaide researchers have developed Australia’s first interactive frailty map – identifying where people who are prone to develop frailty are living and will be living in eight years from now.

Dr Danielle Taylor says frailty is a preventable and treatable condition and need not reduce the quality of life of older people.

“Frail and pre-frail people need assistance from physiotherapists, dietitians, occupational therapists, social workers, aged care assessment services and community services to help alleviate the effects of ageing,” she said.

She believes the interactive map can help governments and service planners to better target treatment and prevention and ultimately reduce frailty prevalence.

“Reducing frailty will improve the quality of life of many older Australians, enabling them to remain independent and living for longer in their own homes, while also reducing the higher utilisation of health services,” Dr Taylor said.

The interactive map shows population estimates of the number of frail and pre-frail people within all Australian suburbs for 2011, 2016 and 2027. It shows that the number of frail people in some suburbs around capital cities is projected to double.

Frailty projected areas

So what are the areas projected to have higher levels of frailty?

  • Sydney — Padstow, Chatswood, Bexley, Hurstville
  • Melbourne — Epping, Mulgrave, Kalor East
  • Canberra — Monash, Florey, Rivett
  • Brisbane — Eagleby, Raceview, Birkdale
  • Adelaide — Hallett Cove, Happy Valley, Mount Barker and Golden Grove
  • Perth — Armadale, Canning Vale, Bassendean, Kingsley
  • Darwin — Fannie Bay, Rapid Creek, Wanguri
  • Hobart — Risdon Vale, Brighton, South Hobart

In 2016, 3.6 million Australians (15.7 per cent of the total population) were over 65 years old. More than half of them is estimated to be frail (more than 415,000) or pre-frail (1.7 million) and the number is expected to grow rapidly. It is estimated that more than 600,000 people will be frail and 2.2 million pre-frail in 2027. The growth is expected to be fastest in regional, remote and outer metropolitan areas.

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