Physical frailty and depression are common comorbid conditions that have important impact on older adults. Few studies however have examined their co-occurrence in centenarians. This paper explores the relationship between the two conditions and the most characteristic depressive symptoms associated with the frailty syndrome.
Data come from two Portuguese Centenarian Studies. Frailty was measured using Fried's phenotype, which includes at least three clinical signs: exhaustion, weight loss, weakness, slowness, and low physical activity level; the Geriatric Depression Scale was used to assess depression. Descriptive comparison and binary logistic regression models were used for data analysis.
The final sample comprised 91 centenarians (mean age = 101.0, SD = 1.3; 85.7% female). From these, 5.5% were classified as robust, 42.9% as pre-frail, and 51.6% as frail. The prevalence of depression in the whole sample was 35.2% (51.1% in frail centenarians; 21.1% in pre-frail centenarians; 0% in robust centenarians). Frail centenarians presented higher risk of depression (OR = 3.92; 95% CI 1.48–10.4) when compared to pre-frail centenarians. Findings from the multivariable model (gender, living arrangements, education, cognition, subjective health, current illness, and functionality) revealed that only subjective health remained significant.
It seems that depression is a comorbid clinical independent condition that is frequent in frail and pre-frail centenarians.