Combatting Frailty in Stourbridge, Hagley and Halesowen

Home Instead (Stourbridge, Hagley and Halesowen) asks what is frailty and investigates if it can be slowed down as we get older or even reversed with targeted care.

What is frailty and the role of health and care services

Frailty background in the UK

According to the NHS Confederation, 35 per cent of people aged over 65 are living with a degree of frailty, which means upto 40,000 people across the Stourbridge, Hagley and Halesown area.  47% of people admitted to hospital in the UK in this age group are considered to be affected by frailty, costing the UK £5.8 billion.  Clearly it is a significant issue affecting many people so what is frailty and what support is available?

The British Geriatric Society defines frailty as “a distinctive health state related to the ageing process in which multiple body systems gradually lose their in-built reserves.”  Often people affected by frailty also live with other medical conditions, but for others frailty may be their only long term condition and therefore unfortunately they are not recognised on the radar of the healthcare system, particularly in the early stages until their condition worsens.  This can be exacerbated because people do not like to think of themselves as frail and devise strategies to compensate, whilst ignoring opportunities to slow down or even reverse the process.

The main cause of frailty is a cumulative decline in physiology which occurs over a life time.  There are also close correlations with other health conditions such as COPD, heart disease, depression, diabetes and dementia but some would argue that it is an indirect link because these health conditions first lead to a reduction in physical and mental activity or stimulation, which in turn leads to increasing frailty.

Living well at home with frailty

At Home Instead, we work with clients to develop a care plan which includes activities and interventions to maintain or increase levels of physical, mental and social activity.  NHS England sites multiple resources which support the promotion of physical and social activity to reduce the effects of ageing which lead to frailty.  Whilst this can seem dauting, there are some simple things which you can do from the comfort of your own home.

Care Provider Home Instead supports clients with prescribed exercises at home

Outstanding Frailty Care includes physical activity and quality nutrition advice

Home Instead supporting people to stay active

The care team at the Stourbridge, Hagley and Halesowen Office have developed partnerships with other health care experts as well as community organisations to provide lots of opportunities for clients to access the treatments or therapies they need as well as choosing local activities with clubs and groups nearby.  Care professionals are always ready to support people to complete any exercise routines recommended by pysiotherapists and occupational therapists, which can achieve amazing results and for some will be a successful alternative to staying in a respite and recovery facility.

For people looking to step up their activity levels in the community and to literally increase their step count, the Home Instead Care Team has links to an extensive network, as described in our Whats on Where Guide, including everything from Bowls at Wordsley Green CommunityCentre , Active Seniors at Hagley Community Centre, a Parkinsons Exercise Group at St Thomas Church in Stourbridge, “Move it or lose it” at St James Church Hall Wollaston and pilates at Hasbury CommunityChurch.  Give the team a call for more information.

Care at home to provide individual meals with the nutrition you need

From our initial meeting with our clients our Care Consultant will find out exactly what foods you enjoy, but will also want to understand any special diets recommended by your GP or other health professionals.  Home Instead always find a way to make sure you get the nutrition that you need, preparing fresh ingredients and finding recipies with the balance of protein, salt, vitamins, fibre or calories that you need.

Home Instead Care Assitant prepares nutritious home cooked meal

Frailty Scales

There are many different ways of assessing or measuring frailty but one of the most common for over 65’s is the Clinical Frailty Scale (CFS) also known as the Rockwood Scale.  The Specialist Clinical Frailty Network provides advice on understanding the CFS, the benefits of being able to apply assessments in a practical setting and shares some top tips on how to use the scale, stressing that it is a judgment based tool, should be used in conjunction with expert advice and should provide a start point for conversations about planning for the future.

Older lady with carer seeking support from pharmacist