A case for examining the social context of frailty in later life
Barrett, P. (2006). A case for examining the social context of frailty in later life. Australasian Journal on Ageing, 25(3), 114-118.
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/8389
This paper makes a case for examining late life frailty as a dynamic social phenomenon. There is increasing interest in the issue of late life frailty from biomedical researchers, but less so from researchers using the perspectives and methods of social gerontology given a concern that to focus on aspects of functional decline tacitly endorses negative views of ageing. This paper begins by introducing an example of the way frailty in older people is referred to in regional health policy initiatives in New Zealand, before discussing issues around the definition of frailty and its significance. It concludes by noting that, while the term frailty is problematic, social gerontology has a contribution to make in understanding processes of loss of capacity in later life and the social and institutional context within which that occurs, and thus has a contribution to make in policy planning and service delivery.