Aim: The relationships between frailty and neighborhood social resources and neighborhood quality among community-dwelling older people are poorly understood. We therefore enquired into these associations while controlling for important individual characteristics. Methods: Our cross-sectional study included 945 out of 1440 (66% response rate) community-dwelling older people (aged ≥70 years) in Rotterdam. The sample included approximately 430 older adults per district and was proportional with respect to neighborhood and age. Potential participants were mailed questionnaires, non-respondents were first sent a reminder, then asked by telephone and finally visited at home to complete the questionnaire. Results: Age, sex, marital status and level of education varied between the frail and non-frail. A significantly larger proportion of the frail was female (64.4% vs 48.0%; P≤0.001), fewer were married (22.1% vs 48.4%; P≤0.001) and the frail were, on average, older than the non-frail (78.8 vs 76.0 years; P≤0.001). A significantly larger proportion of the frail were poorly educated (25.9% vs 18.6%; P≤0.01). Multilevel regression analyses showed that older age (P<0.001) was associated with higher likelihood of frailty and marital status (P<0.001) with lower likelihood of frailty. Feeling more secure (P<0.001) and having a stronger sense of social cohesion and neighborhood belonging (P<0.05) seemed to protect against frailty. Conclusion: The results of this study support the importance of feeling safe, social cohesion and a sense of belonging within the neighborhood. These findings could have important implications for efforts to reduce frailty of older people within communities.

Belonging, Community study, Netherlands, Older people, Security, Social cohesion,
Geriatrics and Gerontology International
Erasmus School of Economics

Cramm, J.M, & Nieboer, A.P. (2013). Relationships between frailty, neighborhood security, social cohesion and sense of belonging among community-dwelling older people. Geriatrics and Gerontology International, 13(3), 759–763. doi:10.1111/j.1447-0594.2012.00967.x