Background: People with intellectual disabilities may experience frailty earlier than the general population. This scoping review aimed to investigate how frailty is defined, assessed, and managed in adults with an intellectual disability; factors associated with frailty; and the potential impact of COVID-19 on frailty identification and management. Method: Databases were searched from January 2016 to July 2023 for studies that investigated frailty in individuals with intellectual disabilities. Results: Twenty studies met the inclusion criteria. Frailty prevalence varied between 9% and 84%. Greater severity of intellectual disability, presence of Down syndrome, older age, polypharmacy, and group home living were associated with frailty. Multiagency working, trusted relationships and provision of evidence-based information may all be beneficial in frailty management. Conclusion: Frailty is common for people with intellectual disabilities and is best identified with measures specifically designed for this population. Future research should evaluate interventions to manage frailty and improve lives.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13219
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities
Issue number3
Early online date14 Mar 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Mar 2024


  • ageing
  • frailty
  • intellectual disabilities
  • scoping review
  • Prevalence
  • Humans
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Frail Elderly
  • Down Syndrome/complications
  • Intellectual Disability/epidemiology
  • Frailty/epidemiology


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