QOL Publications

Frailty: Constructing a common meaning, definition, and conceptual framework
Ivan Brown, Rebecca Renwick, Dennis Raphael
January 1996, 11 pages


The term frailty has been used for many years, both in everyday and academic language. It is a term that appears, on the surface, to be simple enough in its meaning, yet it has been used in a variety of ways to describe both people and a condition that applies to people. Moreover, little conceptual thought has gone into the nature of frailty and the factors that might affect it. This paper presents a definition of frailty: frailty occurs when there is diminished ability to carry out the important practical and social activities of daily living. It also presents a conceptualization of frailty that specifies its basic components, the categories of factors that contribute to it, and its relationship to closely-related concepts.