On world disability day, lets talk about the scourge of old age, i.e. loss of independent mobility in old age. Locomotion syndrome was coined in Japan which has significant geriatric population. It was noticed that as people age, their ability to do chores outside home start decreasing. Locomotion syndrome is defined when a person cant carry more than 2 kg weight or walk for more than 15 minutes continuously. Slowly, gradually their ability to get up from seat start getting affected and their gait become slow and sluggish. This happens due to degenerative changes in the discs of spine, cartilage of hip and knee joint, loss of muscle mass called sarcopenia. All these gets further complicated by osteoporotic fractures of spine and proximal femur. With the steady rise inpercentage of geriatric population in India, we need to identify these subset of elderlies and intervene before they become a burden on the society and healthcare.
Early identification, building of muscle mass, balancing and muscle strengthening exercises are to be instituted at the earliest. Mobility assistant like sticks or walking frame, with companion or group therapy helps build up their physical and emotional health.
It remains in the interest of society and healthcare that their independent mobility is restored and remain an asset rather than a liability.