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Older Men’s Definitions of Frailty – The Manitoba Follow-up Study

  • Philip D. St. John (a1) (a2), Susan S. McClement (a3), Audrey U. Swift (a4) and Robert B. Tate (a2) (a4)
Abstract

Background: There is little empirical research into lay definitions of frailty. Objectives: (1) To explore the definitions of frailty among older men, and (2) to explore if these definitions match commonly used clinical definitions of frailty. Methods: Analysis of open-ended questions to survey data from a prospective cohort study of older airmen. The definitions of frailty were elicited, and grouped according to themes. Results: 147 men responded (mean age: 93). There was considerable heterogeneity in older men’s’ definitions of frailty, and no theme of frailty was predominant. The most common theme was impairment in activities of daily living. Older men’s’ definition of frailty was not consistent with any commonly used medical theory of frailty. Conclusions: Most older men think frailty is important, but their definitions are not consistent. Frailty may be a heterogeneous experience, which different people experience differently.

Introduction: Peu de recherches empiriques ont été réalisées sur les définitions non cliniques de la fragilité. Objectifs : 1. Explorer comment les hommes plus âgés définissent la fragilité, et 2. Explorer si ces définitions correspondent aux définitions cliniques de la fragilité qui sont couramment utilisées. Méthodes : Analyses des réponses à des questions ouvertes d’un sondage présenté dans le cadre d’une étude de cohorte prospective réalisée chez des hommes âgés qui avaient travaillé comme aviateurs. Les définitions de la fragilité ont été recueillies et groupées en fonction de thèmes. Résultats : 147 hommes (âge moyen : 93 ans) ont répondu au sondage. Une grande hétérogénéité a été observée dans les définitions de la fragilité recueillies chez ces participants, et aucun des thèmes de la fragilité ne pouvait être qualifié de prédominant. Les incapacités dans les activités de la vie quotidienne étaient le thème le plus fréquemment évoqué. Aucune correspondance ne pouvait être établie entre les définitions de la fragilité énoncées par les hommes âgés et les théories médicales couramment utilisées pour la fragilité. Conclusions : La plupart des hommes âgés pensent que la fragilité est un problème important, bien que leurs définitions de la fragilité diffèrent. La fragilité se manifesterait d’une manière hétérogène et affecterait différemment chaque individu.

Copyright
Corresponding author
La correspondance et les demandes de tirés-à-part doivent être adressées à : / Correspondence and requests for offprints should be sent to: Philip St. John, MD MPH FRCPC Associate Professor, Head Section of Geriatrics, University of Manitoba GE 547 Health Sciences Centre 820Sherbrook Street Winnipeg, MB, R3A 1R9 (pstjohn@hsc.mb.ca)
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Canadian Journal on Aging / La Revue canadienne du vieillissement
  • ISSN: 0714-9808
  • EISSN: 1710-1107
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