The objective of this study was to estimate the cross-sectional association of frailty status with overall and domain-specific quality of life (QoL) in rural community-dwelling older adults in Kegalle district of Sri Lanka.
A population-based cross-sectional study was conducted with 746 community-dwelling older adults aged ≥ 60 years living in the rural areas of Kegalle district of Sri Lanka in 2016. A three-stage probability sampling design was used to recruit participants. Frailty and QoL were assessed using the Fried phenotype and Older People’s Quality of Life Questionnaire, respectively. Multivariable linear regression was used to estimate the association of frailty with QoL after accounting for the complex sampling design.
The median (IQR) age of the sample was 68 (64:75) years and comprised of 56.7% women. 15.2% (95% CI 12.4%, 18.7%) were frail and 48.5% (95% CI 43.9%, 53.2%) were pre-frail. The unadjusted means (SE) of the total QoL score for the robust, pre-frail and frail groups were 139.2 (0.64), 131.8 (1.04) and 119.2 (1.35), respectively. After adjusting for covariates in the final multivariable model, the estimated differences in mean QoL were lower for both frail and pre-frail groups versus robust. The estimated reduction in the total QoL score was 7.3% for those frail and 2.1% for those pre-frail. All QoL domains apart from ‘social relationships and participation’, ‘home and neighbourhood’ and ‘financial circumstances’ were associated with frailty.
Frailty was associated with a small but significant lower quality of life in this rural Sri Lankan population, which appears largely explained by ‘health’ and ‘independence, control over life and freedom’ QoL domains. Interventions aiming to improve quality of life in frail older adults should consider targeting these aspects.