Physical Therapy Research
Online ISSN : 2189-8448
ISSN-L : 2189-8448
Frailty and Environmental Attributes in Older Adults: Insight from an Ecological Model
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2023 Volume 26 Issue 3 Pages 71-77


Many studies on frailty have primarily focused on individual-level risk factors such as demographics and lifestyle. While guidelines for frailty management recommend modifications to an individual’s lifestyle, their lifestyle behaviors are significantly influenced by their surroundings. Recently, the association between frailty and environmental attributes has drawn attention as a result of the increase in evidence that multiple factors affect health conditions and behaviors associated with frailty. These findings can be organized based on an ecological model involving five nested levels that influence an individual’s behaviors, namely, an intrapersonal/individual core (age, education, and attitude), an interpersonal level (persons and groups), an organizational/institutional level (organization and workplace), a community level (natural, built, and social environments), and a system/public policy level (public policies from local to national). This study reviewed possible factors associated with frailty from the onset and its progression at each level of the ecological model and their implications regarding frailty prevention. Additionally, we introduce a policy-level approach for frailty prevention in Japan—which encourages residents to engage in the local society by participating in community places or groups that are referred to as ”Kayoi-no-ba”—and aggregate its status from a government report. This perspective on community building is consistent with the concept of an ecological model. However, few studies have verified the effects of policy- or system-level approaches on disability and frailty prevention. Further studies from an ecological perspective are needed to fulfill multilevel interventions for frailty prevention.

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© 2023 Japanese Society of Physical Therapy

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