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Frailty: Geriatric Syndromes and Chronic Illnesses

Geriatric Syndromes

The elderly are generally known to be a population that is rather vulnerable in the framework if its health. One of the reasons why such an issue is observed is the presence of geriatric syndromes. Unfortunately, professionals are not yet able to state if geriatric syndromes underlie chronic illnesses or vice versa. Still, a belief exists that these issues are interconnected and affect one another depending on the situation. Moreover, the majority of healthcare workers accept this very idea. Geriatric syndromes are experienced by individuals, as they get older. These are adverse health conditions have an influence on many parts of the body and cause adverse health outcomes. Their range is rather explicit, which means that they can be connected with different problems (Vetrano et al., 2015).

For instance, frequent falls can explain a streamlined development of Parkinson’s disease that affects the motor system, and Parkinson’s disease can be a main cause of falls. Similarly, Alzheimer’s Disease can affect people’s health, streamlining the development of memory issues associated with aging, such as dementia. This geriatric problem can increase the possibility of having several health issues because it prevents the elderly from maintaining appropriate treatment and disease management. Thus, nurses must be aware of the fact that geriatric syndromes and chronic illnesses are tightly connected. For example, knowing that pain can be not only a symptom of some disease but also a geriatric syndrome, medical professionals can maintain an assessment of the patient’s condition in a better way so that they identify the real causes and provide appropriate treatment. Having a patient with urinary incontinence, nurses should take into consideration the fact that it can be caused by obesity and diabetes or just by those changes in the human body observed due to aging.


Frailty is a health issue that limits the physical activity of the elderly greatly, making one disabled. Fortunately, it can be recognized in the initial stages so that its development can be slowed. Prefrail individuals require effective interventions that can enhance their condition and provide them with the opportunity to be independent for several more years (Mauk, 2013). The early stages of frailty can be identified when focusing on such criteria as grip strength. In the majority of cases, its decrease is the main sign of this geriatric syndrome. In addition to that, attention can be paid to the walking time. Those people who are in a prefrail condition tend to move slower than usual and get exhausted faster.

Unintentional weight loss should be treated with more attention because it can be a separate syndrome or just one of the signs of frailty. It is also beneficial to consider those diseases that are claimed to be connected with frailty. For instance, nurses should focus on those patients who have cardiovascular disease or diabetes. Cases with inflammation should also be considered. In addition to that, those individuals who have osteoporosis may be a part of the population that is already in the initial stages of frailty. Trying to prevent the streamlined development of frailty, medical professionals need to educate the elderly and their families regarding proper food intake, the necessity to interact with others and get involved in different activities, avoid pain, maintain balance, and resistance exercises. If one is already frail, the treatment should start with the solution of the major problem that can differ among the elderly.


Mauk, K. (2013). Gerontological nursing. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Vetrano, D., Foebel, A., Marengoni, A., Brandi, V., Collamati, A., Heckman, G., … Onder, G. (2015). Chronic diseases and geriatric syndromes: The different weight of comorbidity. European Journal of Internal Medicine, 27, 62-7.

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