European Journal of Ageing

, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 37–55 | Cite as

Interventions to prevent disability in frail community-dwelling older persons: an overview

  • Ramon Daniels
  • Silke Metzelthin
  • Erik van Rossum
  • Luc de Witte
  • Wim van den Heuvel


This narrative review was conducted to provide an overview of the variety of interventions aimed at disability prevention in community-dwelling frail older persons and to summarize promising elements. The search strategy and selection process found 48 papers that met the inclusion criteria. The 49 interventions described in these 48 papers were categorized into ‘comprehensive geriatric assessment’, ‘physical exercise’, ‘nutrition’, ‘technology’, and ‘other interventions’. There is a large diversity within and between the groups of interventions in terms of content, disciplines involved, duration, intensity, and setting. For 18 of the 49 interventions, significant positive effects for disability were reported for the experimental group. Promising features of interventions seem to be: multidisciplinary and multifactorial, individualized assessment and intervention, case management, long-term follow-up, physical exercise component (for moderate physically frail older persons), and the use of technology. Future intervention studies could combine these elements and consider the addition of new elements.


Frail older persons Disability prevention Review Frailty Activities of daily living 


Studies with an asterisk are part of the analysed papers.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ramon Daniels
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Silke Metzelthin
    • 4
  • Erik van Rossum
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Luc de Witte
    • 3
    • 4
  • Wim van den Heuvel
    • 4
  1. 1.Faculty of Health and CareZuyd University of Applied SciencesHeerlenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Centre of Research on Autonomy and ParticipationZuyd University of Applied SciencesHeerlenthe Netherlands
  3. 3.Centre of Research on Technology in Health CareZuyd University of Applied SciencesHeerlenThe Netherlands
  4. 4.School for Public Health and Primary CareMaastricht UniversityMaastrichtThe Netherlands

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