Restrictive measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic may cause problems in the physical, social, and psychological functioning of older people, resulting in increased frailty. In this cross-sectional study, we aimed to assess the prevalence and characteristics of frailty, to examine differences in perceived COVID-19-related concerns and threats between frail and non-frail people and to identify variables associated with frailty in the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, in Dutch older people aged ≥ 65 years. We used data from the Lifelines COVID-19 Cohort Study. The Groningen Frailty Indicator (GFI) was used, with a score ≥ 4 indicating frailty. Frailty was described per domain (i.e., physical, cognitive, social, and psychological). The association between demographic, health and lifestyle variables and frailty was determined with logistic regression analyses. Frailty was present in 13% of the 11,145 participants that completed the GFI. Most items contributing to a positive frailty score were found within the social domain, in the frail (51%) and the non-frail (59%) persons. For items related to concerns and threats, a significantly higher proportion of frail people reported being worried or feeling threatened. In conclusion, during Corona restrictions, prevalence of frailty was considerable in older people from the Northern Netherlands, with one in eight being frail. Frailty was characterized by social problems and frail people were more often worried and felt threatened by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 19 Mar 2022


  • COVID-19
  • frailty
  • Groningen Frailty Indicator
  • GFI
  • pandemic
  • older people


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