This past Monday many of you shared interesting articles from the news with me. I also received an email from one of you from Zoomer Promotions and the Canadian Frailty Network. The information below has come from the Canadian Frailty Network and is part of its new public health awareness campaign:
“Frailty is widely misunderstood,” says Dr. John Muscedere, Scientific Director for the Canadian Frailty Network (CFN). “People assume that frailty is just something that is going to happen as we get older, but frailty is not an inevitable part of aging.”
Frailty is often unrecognized and commonly attributed to getting older. Luckily, Canada is a leader in frailty research and ways to identify it. What we know is that while frailty can affect people of any age, it is increasingly common in adults aged 65 plus and affects over half of those over the age of 80. It strikes women more than men, is more common among people of lower socio-economic status and First Nations communities. Common symptoms of frailty are low physical activity, weak grip strength, low energy, slow walking speed and/or unintentional, rapid weight loss.
The hallmark of frailty is that it increases the risk of severe, adverse medical outcomes and even death from minor stressors like the flu or a fall. People living with frailty may require frequent visits to emergency rooms, often require assistance with daily activities or need long term care. Severe frailty is often associated with people approaching their end of life.
That challenge, to reduce the number of people who become frail, is one that has been embraced by the Canadian Frailty Network (CFN). CFN has launched a public health awareness campaign, one that literally spells out how we can reduce the risk of becoming frail, take control of our health and AVOID frailty.
See below how you can AVOID Frailty and take control…
The best way to stay mobile, strong and healthy is to do activities that strengthen your muscles, get your heart beating, and challenge your balance. It’s never too late to start! Even adults in their 80s and 90s have been known to rebuild muscle strength with regular exercise. Activity and exercise can slow, and in some cases reverse frailty. Remember to also let your body recharge and repair. Older adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep nightly. Find out more about staying active.
As we age, our body’s ability to fight off infection is reduced. Vaccines are safe and effective, and they greatly improve your ability to resist infectious disease and avoid illnesses that can cause hospitalization or lead to poorer health. Adults over 65 years of age should get the high dose flu vaccine annually, as well as a shingles and pneumonia vaccine once as an adult over age 50. Also, check that your booster shots up are to date, including diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis. Find out more about vaccines.
1 out of 4 Canadian adults over the age of 65, take at least 10 different types of medications. Some medications may no longer be required, while other new medications may be needed. Have your health care provider review ALL your medications periodically, including prescriptions, over the counter drugs and even vitamins and supplements. If unchecked, multiple medicines may interact poorly and cause side effects which may lead to frailty – like poor nutrient absorption, confusion, dizziness and falls. Find out more about optimizing your medication.
In older adults, loneliness has been associated with a 45 per cent increased risk of death. Evidence also suggests that loneliness can accelerate physiological aging and may lead to several other health problems, including high blood pressure, depression and dementia. Older adults with strong social relationships enjoy a better quality of life and often live longer! So be willing to make new friends: join a club, take a class or volunteer in your community. Meaningful relationships matter to your health! Find out more about staying involved.
Diet and Nutrition
Food is medicine! As we age, we need more of certain nutrients like protein found in fish, eggs and other sources to keep muscles and bones strong. Vitamin D and calcium also support bone and muscle strength and may help prevent frailty. Eating enough good food and getting proper nutrition can reduce the risk of frailty and help you live well, longer! Find out more about eating well.