Differences in lifestyle, physical performance and quality of life between frail and robust Brazilian community-dwelling elderly women

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Abstract

Aim:

To investigate the lifestyles, physical performance and quality of life (QOL) of frail and robust Brazilian community-dwelling older women, and to identify risk factors for frailty.

Methods:

Frailty was assessed using the Kihon Checklist. Lifestyles were assessed using a questionnaire. Physical performance was assessed by measuring walking speeds, performance on the one-leg stand test and the five-times chair stand test and handgrip strength. QOL was assessed using the Short Form-8 questionnaire. Participants were divided into frail and robust groups based on their total Kihon Checklist scores.

Results:

A total of 109 participants (age 70.8 ± 6.87 years) were included in this study (robust n = 85, frail n = 24). Differences in living structures (P < 0.001), financial satisfaction (P = 0.004) and the frequencies with which participants leave the house (P < 0.001) were found between groups. The frail group had more fallers (P = 0.047), and lower engagement in physical activity (P = 0.044), lower body mass indices (P = 0.043) and poorer nutritional status (P = 0.002), whereas robust older people showed better physical performance (walking speed P < 0.001, one-leg stand P = 0.021, handgrip strength P = 0.002) and higher QOL scores (general health P = 0.005, role-physical P = 0.013, bodily pain P = 0.002, vitality P = 0.001, social functioning P = 0.001, role-emotional P = 0.008). Multivariate regression analysis identified a slow usual walking speed and bodily pain as risk factors for frailty.

Conclusions:

Frail participants had higher indices for being housebound, and having financial dissatisfaction, a sedentary lifestyle, falls, and malnutrition. Furthermore, they showed poorer physical performance and QOL. An early, well-focused approach is crucial, especially for older adults who walk slowly and have bodily pain to preserve health and QOL. Geriatr Gerontol Int 2016; 16: 829–835.

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