Prevalence and correlates of geriatric frailty in a Northern Taiwan Community

Ching I. Chang, Ding Cheng Chan, Ken N. Kuo, Chao Agnes Hsiung, Ching Yu Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Citations (Scopus)


Background/Purpose: Frailty is the core of geriatric syndromes in the elderly. However, there is no solid prevalence data in Taiwan even with the rapid growth of the elderly population. The aim of this study was to explore the prevalence of frailty defined by different instruments and to identify the factors associated with frailty in a northern Taiwan community. Methods: The 65-79-year old community-dwelling residents randomly selected from Toufen were first screened with a telephone version of the Chinese Canadian Study of Health and Aging Clinical Frailty Scale (CCSHA-CFS; level 1-7). Those who scored 3-6 with this instrument were evaluated at a local hospital with the Fried Frailty Index (FFI) and the Edmonton Frail Scale (EFS). Other baseline characteristics including health and functional performance were also evaluated. Results: Among the 2900 population representative samples, 845 (29.1%) completed the CCSHA-CFS telephone interview with the prevalence of frailty approximately 11.0% [95% confidence interval (CI) 8.9-13.1]. Among the 275 who completed assessments with FFI and EFS, prevalence of frailty was 11.3% (95% CI = 7.6-15.0) by FFI and 14.9% (95% CI = 10.7-19.1) by EFS. About 57.5% of respondents had memory impairment, 29.8% experienced pain, 25.1% experienced falls, 16.7% had depression, 14.5% had urinary incontinence, and 5.8% had polypharmacy. Being older, having more complaints with falls, pain, dysphagia, polypharmacy, depression, comorbidity, longer time for the Timed Up and Go test, less education, lower Mini-Mental State Examination score, and lower Barthel Index were associated with frailer status. In multinomial logistic regression analysis, increasing age, less education status, lower Barthel Index score and depression were positively associated with physical frailty. Conclusion: In this study, the prevalence of frailty was from 11.0% to 14.9% by different criteria and methodology. Various correlates were independently associated with frailty status. It is suggested that intervention for frailty requires an interdisciplinary approach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-257
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the Formosan Medical Association
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Edmonton frail scale
  • Frailty
  • Fried frail index
  • Prevalence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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