Feeling frail? You're not alone

You don't have to be old to be frail - and you can do something about it

Latest in Health

New resources explain frailty and how to avoid it, and which suburbs face 'frail waves'.


FRAILTY: It is generally associated with age, but did you know that people are vulnerable at any age?

And despite the widely-held view that it can't be avoided, there are steps we can take to to ward off frailty.

An initiative led by Flinders University's Dr Mandy Archibald has resulted in the release of a video based on the findings of studies exploring people's perspectives on frailty.

"Our research demonstrated that older adults often regard frailty as something that happens near the end of life, cannot be avoided, and is associated with severe disability," Dr Archibald said.

"Participants were generally unaware that factors such as protein intake, flexibility and strength training can improve or reverse frailty, so they didn't see the point of being screened for frailty.

"Instead, they saw it as a label to be feared."

The video, launched in September, is the first in a series to be produced through a collaboration between Flinders University via the NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in Frailty and Healthy Ageing, with the University of Adelaide and Torrens University.


A NEW online interactive map shows for the first time where Australia's frail and pre-fail people live today and in the future.

The frailty web map will help plan services for healthy ageing.

"Frailty is an increased vulnerability to adverse health outcomes, such as loss of mobility, falls leading to hospitalisation and death," said the map project's research leader Dr Danielle Taylor.

"Frailty is associated with ageing but is not an inevitable consequence of ageing. It is a preventable and treatable condition that reduces the quality of life."

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

Frailty map research leader Danielle Taylor.

Frailty map research leader Danielle Taylor.

Examples include:

Sydney - Padstow, Chatswood, Bexley, Hurstville.

Melbourne - Epping, Mulgrave, Keilor East.

Canberra - Monash, Florey, Rivett.

Brisbane - Eagleby, Raceview, Birkdale.

Adelaide - Hallett Cove, Happy Valley, Mount Barker, 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 population) were aged over 65. More than half of them are estimated to be frail (415,000) or pre-frail (1.7 million) and the number is expected to grow rapidly, especially in regional, remote and outer metropolitan areas.

The map is available for anyone to use and could be valuable to individuals and community groups advocating for additional local services.

View the frailty map HERE