People can be diagnosed with any number of debilitating chronic or acute health conditions that will negatively impact their daily life. Often these conditions will mask another serious health concern called frailty. Frailty is also a diagnosis.
While other health conditions may seem to take precedence over frailty it should not be assumed that being frail is any less important. In fact, frailty affects many people, especially as they age, and can be a significant predictor of future negative health outcomes. Many people who are frail will go undetected and undiagnosed until they have a serious fall that results in a hospitalization or they become bed-bound requiring significant care at home.
The Canadian Frailty Network defines frailty as “a state of increased vulnerability, with reduced physical reserve and loss of function across multiple body systems. This reduces ability to cope with normal or minor stresses, which can cause rapid and dramatic changes in health.” Frailty affects people from diverse backgrounds, all with their own unique needs and abilities.
As a caregiver, you may be unsure how to identify frailty in your loved one, and how to help them. The Nova Scotia Health Authority has a few good handouts on frailty that can help - Understanding Frailty, Frailty Stages and Frailty and Social Connections.
If you have a frail loved one is an article from White Coat, Black Art on CBC Radio, citing Canadian data.