Delhi doctors are pushing for bone and joint health to be included in the national health programme for the elderly, after a study found that 10% senior citizens living on 2nd floor and above suffer from poor bone health, restricting them entirely to their homes.
The study, which looked at 1,300 senior citizens living on the second floor and above from Delhi-NCR, found that 56% elderly in the age group 60-65 years and only 37% of those over 65 years step out of their houses only 3-4 times a month.
Among senior citizens living on 3rd floor and above, 17% never make it to the ground level. Almost 60% respondents were not able to manage personal cleanliness while 84% are not fit enough to travel alone.
The study, accepted for publication in Indian Orthopaedic Journal, showed that several elderly persons said they were forced to step out, despite poor health, because they were either single or lived in a nuclear family set-up.
"Both the central and state governments should re-plan their health programmes to include bone and joint diseases. The government should start bone screening programmes at the primary and secondary health centres to as to stub the problem at the very outset," said Dr PK Dave, former AIIMS director and head of orthopaedics, Rockland Hospital.
"Even if health policies and programmes focus on educating people about bone related problems, there will be a huge reduction in disability among senior citizens," said Shishir Rastogi, professor at the department of orthopaedics, AIIMS, and advisor, Arthritis Foundation of India.
"The national programme for elderly citizens is very sketchy on the bone and joint health needs of the elderly. This is when 85% of the respondents reported suffering from different kinds of problems related to bones and joints,” said Dr Sushil Sharma, senior orthopaedic surgeon and chairman, Arthritis Foundation of India.