Canadian Initiative on Frailty and Aging

A better understanding of frailty among older people informs a number of health policy issues


The goal of this project was to address the economic and social costs of a quickly aging and increasingly frail population by promoting wellness and improving the quality of health care and life for older Canadians. This research sought to improve understanding of the causes and trajectory of frailty in older Canadians. In this project, frail older people were identified as approximately 20% of the elderly population. Typically they were 75 years of age or older and suffered from significant disabilities in the basic and instrumental activities of daily living. In 2002, it was estimated that 30% of the budget for all health and social services was directed to the care of frail older persons, who made up only 3% of the total population at that time. This research resulted in a report with several policy recommendation including encouraging prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, environmental adaptation, and developing cost-effective systems for the delivery of care.

Grant Outputs

The Canadian Initiative on Frailty and Aging: Models, definitions and criteria for frailty –

This report examines various definitions and criteria for the use of “frailty” as a medical term. Over course of the 1980s and 1990s frailty became a more commonly cited medical term, although there was little agreement about its exact definition. This report concludes that a uniform understanding of the term frailty should be determined for use by the medical community, and suggests that the definition should identify the presence of a multisystem impairment, instability, change over time, and an allowance for heterogeneity within the elderly population. This publication was the first initiative of a broader project by the Canadian Initiative on Frailty and Aging. Following the development of a consensus definition of frailty, the researchers intended to develop relevant practice and policy guidelines for health care practitioners and decision makers.

Grant Details

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