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Prevalence and determinants of frailty and associated comorbidities among older Gurkha welfare pensioners in Nepal

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Geriatrics and Gerontology International

Published online on


Aim Population aging is increasing in low‐income countries. Despite this, there is distinct lack of knowledge about the prevalence of comorbidities and determinants of frailty among older people in these countries. Methods We examined data from “Health and Social Care Needs Assessment Survey of the Gurkha Welfare Pensioners” carried out in 2014. Participants were aged ≥60 years from the Gorakha, Lamjung and Tanahu districts of Nepal. Face‐to‐face interviews were carried out using validated questionnaires. Demographic data, socioeconomic status, and self‐reported symptoms and illnesses were collected. Frailty was assessed using the Canadian Study of Health and Aging scale. Univariable and multivariable regression models were constructed to identify the determinants of frailty defined as Canadian Study of Health and Aging scale ≥4. Results A total of 253 participants (32.0% men) were included in the present study. Most (82.2%) participants were from the Janajati ethnic background. Men who were ex‐servicemen had higher educational attainment than women, most of whom (95.3%) were widows of ex‐servicemen (P < 0.01). A total of 48.5% of women lived with their sons, whereas 43% of the male participants lived with their wives. Women reported a higher prevalence of mental health issues, such as anxiety and insomnia, compared with men. The prevalence of frailty was 46.2% (46.3% in men and 46.1% in women). In this population, frailty was significantly associated with older age, smoking, living with son, breathing problems, unspecified pain and fatigue, poor dental health, and history of falls and fracture (P < 0.001 for all) after controlling for potential confounders. Conclusions The present study highlights the growing nature of the comorbidity burden, and frailty and its determinants in a low‐income setting. Concerted efforts should be made with regard to how best to tackle this globally. Geriatr Gerontol Int 2017; ••: ••–••.