23/1/2018

Wide Bay seniors urged to take five-question test for a healthier future

Federal Member for Wide Bay Llew O’Brien is encouraging residents aged 65 and over to take a five-question online test that could help them maintain their independence and improve their health.

Mr O’Brien said the FRAIL test was an important tool to help reveal whether people are more at risk of frailty which can include deteriorating health, more susceptibility to falls and even premature death.
 
“This test is called the ‘canary in the coal mine’ of ageing, and used in conjunction with follow-up visits to a GP could help Wide Bay seniors lead longer, better lives and remain living in their own homes for as long possible,” Mr O’Brien said.

“The test takes just a minute or two, and the good news is that there are simple interventions that can help avoid and even reverse frailty, so the sooner people heed the warning signs, the better.”
 
Development of the new frailty test was part of a Coalition Government-funded national study of the condition conducted by aged care organisation Benetas, which found:

  • The frailty prevalence rate was 6 percent.
  • 38 per cent fell into the pre-frail category.
  • Slightly more than half (56 per cent) were categorised as robust.
  • Women were found to have a much higher incidence of frailty than men.
  • 5 per cent of men were frail, compared with 8 per cent of women.
  • 34 per cent of men were pre-frail compared with 41 per cent of women.
  • Almost half of the women surveyed were either frail or pre-frail, compared with less than 40 per cent of men.

Mr O’Brien said once the short test has been completed, the online facility produces a personalised letter including the results. Participants are encouraged to print this off and discuss any concerns raised with their doctor.
 
“People can help reduce or prevent frailty by paying attention to the small signs, and taking positive action such as adding more protein to their diets, taking Vitamin D supplements, increasing exercises and walking, and taking a close look at their intake of prescription medicines.
 
“However, it is important that people talk to their GP before making any of these changes.”
 
The FRAIL test is available through the Positive Ageing Resource Centre website parc.net.au
 
The screening tool at parc.net.au complements the individual screening and online supports available on the My Aged Care website www.myagedcare.gov.au