Frailty and disability in Ireland

CARDI Involvement
CARDI grant programme


  • Dr Bellinda King-Kallimanis, Statistics, Trinity College Dublin
  • Professor Rose Anne Kenny, Geriatric Medicine, Trinity College Dublin


  • Northern Ireland
  • Republic of Ireland

Project Lead

Dr Matthew O’Connell, Trinity College Dublin



Funding source

CARDI - Data Mining 2013





Last updated

13th January 2015
Disability in older adults is associated with reduced physical activity, loss of independence, reduced quality of life and increased health care costs. It is more prevalent in Northern Ireland than in the Republic of Ireland.

Key Findings:

  • The prevalence of frailty among people aged 60+ in NI (21%) is much higher than in ROI (7%).
  • Among people aged 60-64, the rates of limiting disability are 43% in NI and 25% in ROI. In the 80+ group, 54% in NI and 29% in ROI have a limiting disability.
  • Women are more likely to be frail than men: 22% compared with 19% in NI and 7% compared with 6% in ROI.
  • Prevalence of frailty rises with age. In NI 16% of people aged 60-64 are frail and 36% aged 80+. In ROI 3% of 60-64 year olds and 15% of those aged 80+ are frail.
  • In NI 17% of people aged 60+ in high social class are frail, as are 29% of those in low social class. In ROI only 3% of high social class are frail compared with 10% in low social class.

Read the research brief here.