Help with frailty in later life.
Frailty is a common syndrome affecting older people but can be difficult to define. This is partly because there is no single test, cause, or defining characteristic of frailty, and partly because culturally we often accept common changes in ageing as ‘normal’ even if they are not necessarily part of healthy ageing. For example, memory loss, slow walking pace, weakness and tiredness are all frequently seen in older people – but they are not all inevitable. You may also see a 90-year old riding a pushbike!
When changes in health are clearly related to a single disease (e.g. a heart attack) in a previously healthy person, this may result in a functional change such as reduced mobility, but this is not necessarily frailty. If the problem is self-limiting and recovery is complete it may not result in any further problems.
However if recovery is incomplete or other problems occur, over time this reduced mobility may lead to progressively reduced strength and fitness, with resulting muscle loss, reduced cardiovascular vigour, and lowered appetite. This may be the beginnings of frailty, and if this process continues it becomes a cycle – worsened health leads to reduced activity, which causes reduced fitness, predisposing to further health problems. Sometimes the initial event causing the decline may not be so clear as a heart attack – gradually worsening arthritis, reduced social contacts leading to less outdoor mobility, low mood, loss of confidence after an accident or fall – all of these can trigger or contribute to a decline in fitness.
People with frailty are more likely to acquire new health problems and also have less ability to deal with those problems. This is called ‘reserve’. If a healthy person gets a viral infection, it may make them tired but they can still move around and look after themselves. However a frail person with exactly the same illness may become unable to get out of bed – they were already operating at 100% of capacity just to live their normal everyday life, and have no extra ‘reserve’ to bring to bear when unwell.
If all this sounds somewhat fatalistic there is some good news at least: frailty may be difficult to reverse (although an acute decline can respond to good treatment and rehabilitation) but if it is spotted early, contributing problems are well managed, and particularly if you are able to progressively increase your activity levels then it can be delayed or stopped, preserving independence and quality of life.
How is it treated?
If you want help, please contact us and we can arrange a doctor to see you and assess for causes and effects of frailty. This is a complex process and may take more than one visit, and quite possibly more than one type of health professional. A geriatrician may make an overall assessment but may require input from other specialists, maintaining a holistic overview, and input from allied professionals (e.g. a physiotherapist) may also be important to evaluate frailty and execute a treatment plan.
How we can help.
Because we are the specialists in health for older adults, we can offer all the expertise you need from one source.
We usually visit you at home, or alternatively can see you at our Consulting Rooms. We aim to arrange all appointments within a matter of days.
Clear and simple pricing.
First appointment up to 90 minutes, priced at £450.
Further appointments at £300 up to 60 minutes, £200 up to 30 minutes.
Home visit supplements starting from £100.Get started now
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The service pre appointment was excellent and the appointment was also very good.
Gwyn Grout has been very helpful and supportive of my mother & family and has co-ordinated her care very well. She has been objective and listens well to the difficulties we have experienced.
My father has seen a lot of Consultants with his health and Dr Warner was the nicest person we have seen. It’s been quite an exhausting process for my dad and it was lovely to have someone who put him so much at ease.