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Table 2 Older adults’ perceptions of frailty

From: Older adults’ perceptions and informational needs regarding frailty

Perception domains Example
Frailty as related to age I’ve got family members who have been [frail] basically because of age.”
Frailty as related to physical symptoms
 Lack of strength or energy “Someone [who] doesn’t have strength or energy.”
 Decreased activity “Their ability to do the things that they once did are gone.”
 Trouble walking “I have experience with elderly people being frail and not being able to walk too far or having to use a walker.”
 Weight loss “She’s very frail, she weight maybe 110 and she was weighing 140…. So she’s pretty frail right now.”
 Low weight “Lack of physical weight… if a wind would come they might get blown away… I associate [frailty with] very thin people.”
 Tendency for falling “When … they have difficulty and they are fall risks … they become frail.”
 Weak bones “I think of people with brittle bones who if they fell could break the bones.”
Physical symptoms that are perceived to not be related to frailty
 Lack of energy “I think as you get older there’s certain things you can’t do, like lack of energy, you know you used to be able to do certain things and then all of a sudden you get tired and you feel like taking a nap. I’m 80 years old and I feel like if I want to take a nap I’m entitled. That isn’t frail. It’s getting older.”
 Trouble walking “I have a condition with my spine where I can’t walk very well or for any distance but to me in my mind that doesn’t make me frail necessarily, it’s just a limitation.”
Frailty as related to subjective feeling or psychological state
 A subjective feeling I felt frail when I had my first child.”
 A mental state “It’s a state of mind…you know for the individual to decide if he or she feels that frailty.”
 Mental state causes frailty “If you consider yourself frail, you are gonna be frail.”