Prevalence of frailty and its association with sociodemographic and clinical characteristics, and resource utilization in a population of Singaporean older adults

Janhavi Ajit Vaingankar, Siow Ann Chong, Edimansyah Abdin, Louisa Picco, Boon Yiang Chua, Saleha Shafie, Hui Lin Ong, Sherilyn Chang, Esmond Seow, Derrick Heng, Peak Chiang Chiam, Mythily Subramaniam

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Aim: The present study examined the prevalence of frailty and its association with sociodemographic, clinical and social characteristics, and service utilization in a representative general population sample of Singaporean older adults. Methods: A single-phase, cross-sectional survey was carried out in a nationally representative sample of 2102 Singapore residents aged 60 years and older. Five frailty parameters (weakness, slowness, exhaustion, low physical activity and/or unintentional weight loss) were measured to assess Fried's frailty phenotype to identify frail (meeting 3/5 criteria), prefrail (meeting 1 or 2 criteria) and non-frail (absence of all 5) older adults. On testing independent associations, multiple backward stepwise logistic regression analyses were carried out to identify the strongest correlates of frail states. Results: The prevalence of frailty among the older adult population was found to be 5.7%. Sociodemographic, clinical and social characteristics differed significantly at an independent level by frailty status. A higher proportion of frail older adults had care needs (54.5%) compared to pre-frail (13.5%) and non-frail (2.2%), and poor social networks (58.8% vs prefrail [36.6%] and non-frail [28.6%]). Frail older adults also had significantly higher service utilization. Significant correlates of frail state were older age, poor social networks, having any care need, and a history of dementia, diabetes, cancer, respiratory problems or paralysis. Conclusions: Frailty is common among older adults in Singapore, and it correlates with many components at the person, health and societal levels, thus highlighting the importance of individual- and population-level frailty detection and interventions in this population. Geriatr Gerontol Int 2017; 17: 1444–1454.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1444-1454
Number of pages11
JournalGeriatrics and Gerontology International
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • chronic condition
  • dementia
  • epidemiology
  • geriatric medicine
  • public health

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