1. Individuals who reported feeling older than their chronological ages were significantly more likely to be frail or pre-frail than those who felt younger or the same age.
Evidence Rating Level: 2 (Good)
Frailty is associated with age, biological processes, health status, and a range of other factors. Similarly, subjective age is also dependent on these variables and defined as the age one experiences themselves as being. The relationship between subjective age and frailty is poorly understood. This prospective cohort study of 2,592 community-dwelling older adults (M [SD] age = 75.2 [6.8] years, 58% female, 76% White) from the National Health and Aging Trends Study sought to examine this relationship. Frailty was quantified through five phenotypic criteria: exhaustion, unintentional weight loss, low physical activity, slow gait, weak grip strength. The following categories were then used to define the number of criteria met: robust (0), pre-frailty (1-2), frailty (≥3). Subjective age was determined by self-report and was a response to the age that the participants feel most of the time. These categories comprised 45%, 46%, and 9% of participants, respectively. Approximately 77% of participants felt younger than their chronological age while 18% felt the same age and 5% felt older. Feeling older than one’s chronological age was predictive of a higher likelihood of frailty and pre-frailty (OR = 1.93, 95% CI 1.45 to 2.56). Overall, this study suggests that those whose subjective ages exceed their chronological ages are more likely to be frail or pre-frail. These findings could be used to develop brief screeners that could indicate frailty level and risk of negative outcomes as a result.
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