Evaluating the handgrip strength of very old seniors could be an effective way to evaluate risk for death, according to a recently published study.

A group of 555 seniors from the Netherlands aged 85 years old were evaluated for handgrip strength. That same cohort was then re-evaluated at age 89. Low handgrip strength at both ages as well as greater measurable decline in handgrip strength over time were both associated with greater rates of all-cause mortality, according to the report.

Using handgrip strength could help caregivers identify which older seniors are at greater risk of death, and possibly increase survival rates by applying muscle-strengthening techniques to those seniors, researchers say. The report appears in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.