Research says frailty can be reduced in older Australians

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, health restrictions mean many people have not had access to their usual community activities, from exercise groups to service clubs.


Research shows there has been an increase in frailty among older people during this time along with an increase in the rate of falls. This has been compounded by a fear of attending required health care appointments and a drop in engagement for health promotion activities.



Frailty affects one in two people 65 plus. It refers to increased functional loss, with many causes and contributors. When frail, a person feels vulnerable and is at-risk of poor health.


Head of Research at Bolton Clarke Professor Judy Lowthian is leading the Being Your Best program, working with major Melbourne health providers and older people at risk of frailty to develop and deliver preventative interventions including physical activity, cognitive training, nutrition, and social support.


“We know that physical exercise like strength and resistance training is effective and it’s more effective if you do it in a group situation,” she said.

“We also know we have to look at nutritional needs because frailty can include losing weight.


“Cognitive training, like word games and cross words, and social support are also valuable – people who have a tendency to be frail also tend to become more isolated.”


“Pre-pandemic up to one in two older Australians were pre-frail. However, with ongoing and recurring lockdowns, there has been an alarming increase in falls among older people due to decreased physical functioning associated with social isolation and decreased physical activity.”


Bolton Clarke’s newest consumer white paper, Being Your Best, is attached and available online here: Being your best: Preventing and reducing symptoms of frailty | Bolton Clarke


30 July 2022.