Aim: Within an aging in place policy, detection of frail community dwelling older people is a challenge. Moreover, previous research showed that psychological frailty contributes most to the overall feelings of frailty, pointing towards the necessity of detection. The main purpose of this study is to explore the socioeconomic profile of frail community dwelling older people in order to determine the possible risk factors of psychological frailty in later life.
Methods: A cross-sectional study (N= 28,245) using data collected by the Belgian Aging Studies was executed. Psychological frailty was measured using the Comprehensive Frailty Assessment Instrument, more specifically mood-disorders and emotional loneliness. Chi square tests were used to investigate the relation between psychological frailty and socioeconomic indicators. In order to get an insight into the hierarchical order of the predictors of high psychological frailty, a Chi-squared Automatic Interaction Detector (CHAID)-analysis was applied.
Results: The risk factors for high psychological frailty were: female, not having a partner, low education and inadequate financial resources. Concerning gender, high psychologically frail women were more often widowed, had no partner and had a lower educational and income level than high psychologically frail men. Results of CHAID analyzes, showed that being divorced or widow(ed), and having difficulties to make ends meet and being a woman were the best predictors for high psychological frailty in community dwelling older people.
Conclusion: Asking if there are difficulties to make ends meet enables to detect community dwelling psychological frail older people.
psychological frailty, older people, aging, socioeconomic profile