Wearable sensors and the assessment of frailty among vulnerable older adults: An observational cohort study

Javad Razjouyan, Aanand D. Naik, Molly J. Horstman, Mark E. Kunik, Mona Amirmazaheri, He Zhou, Amir Sharafkhaneh, Bijan Najafi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


Background: The geriatric syndrome of frailty is one of the greatest challenges facing the U.S. aging population. Frailty in older adults is associated with higher adverse outcomes, such as mortality and hospitalization. Identifying precise early indicators of pre-frailty and measures of specific frailty components are of key importance to enable targeted interventions and remediation. We hypothesize that sensor-derived parameters, measured by a pendant accelerometer device in the home setting, are sensitive to identifying pre-frailty. Methods: Using the Fried frailty phenotype criteria, 153 community-dwelling, ambulatory older adults were classified as pre-frail (51%), frail (22%), or non-frail (27%). A pendant sensor was used to monitor the at home physical activity, using a chest acceleration over 48 h. An algorithm was developed to quantify physical activity pattern (PAP), physical activity behavior (PAB), and sleep quality parameters. Statistically significant parameters were selected to discriminate the pre-frail from frail and non-frail adults. Results: The stepping parameters, walking parameters, PAB parameters (sedentary and moderate-to-vigorous activity), and the combined parameters reached and area under the curve of 0.87, 0.85, 0.85, and 0.88, respectively, for identifying pre-frail adults. No sleep parameters discriminated the pre-frail from the rest of the adults. Conclusions: This study demonstrates that a pendant sensor can identify pre-frailty via daily home monitoring. These findings may open new opportunities in order to remotely measure and track frailty via telehealth technologies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1336
JournalSensors (Switzerland)
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2018


  • Frailty
  • Moderate-to-vigorous activity
  • Physical activity
  • Pre-frail
  • Sedentary behavior
  • Steps
  • Wearable sensor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Information Systems
  • Biochemistry
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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