Care of the Elderly in Nigeria
Morning Crossfire pays attention to International Day of Older Persons, happening tomorrow, October 1st, which is also Nigeria’s Independence Day. Morning Crossfire is thereby devoted to the International Day of Older Persons, which has the theme: The Journey Towards Age Equality.
Wemimo Adewuni and Sheriff Quadri steers the conversation as usual. What is age equality and how do we access fantastic health facilities for the elderly? What can the elderly be doing in their old age?
These and many other issues are discussed in this one-hour talk show.
In 1991 the UN General Assembly adopted the United Nations Principles for Older Persons and made October 1st as a special day for older people and senior citizens around the world and to recognize their contributions and to examine issues that affect their lives.
Issues of human rights for older persons were taken up in 1991 in the formulation of the United Nations Principles for Older Persons, which provided guidance in the areas of independence, participation, care, self-fulfillment and dignity.
According to the United Nations Population Fund “Older people have always played a significant role in society, as leaders, caretakers and custodians of tradition. Yet they are also highly vulnerable, with many falling into poverty, becoming disabled or facing discrimination."
The current population of old people in Nigeria is as follows: in August 2018, the World Health Article citing National Population Commission review says that Nigeria has approximately 9.3 million elderly people, aged 60 and above. That number is high, yet a little is known about interventions for their wellbeing and welfare. Another statistic reveals that Nigeria will have a doubling of the number of elderly ones by 2020.
Dr Jibunoh tells a little about himself. Now he is 82 years old and he says he retired over 20 years ago. He was in his 60s when he retired. He informs us about life in old age.
“What I’ve always wanted to do is wake up every day and have something to do. That is the best way to approach ageing. There’s nothing as bad as waking up and not having anything to do.
“Fortunately, I have always been an explorer, an adventurer. I started by driving a car from London to Nigeria through the Sahara desert. I also drove from Nigeria back to London. It keeps your mind, body, and soul working. Even at this age, I still want to explore. If I get an invitation tomorrow to go to space, I will accept such invitation. Since the 60’s I’ve been wanting to be part of that. I have also written many books about exploration.
“When I resigned, they changed my title so they could retain me for another three years. I became a non-executive chairman. I continued to work. But at that time I wanted to do more because in exploration there’s so much to learn and to gain.”
He also talks about coming out of the poverty level. For him it is what one builds for himself that he’ll live on. The other thing is living with loneliness, so he makes friends everywhere around the world. Friends he has made in about 50 years are still close and willing to keep in touch.
Rotimi chimes in that things may not always be as we think it will be in Nigeria. So, Nigeria may have had more people of retirement age if this country doesn’t have such a low life expectancy rate of under the age of 55 than most nations. Yet, Rotimi says there is no investment in housing and healthcare for older ones.
“Even people who are working in the organized sector, we see the stress they go through to access their pension. We are still talking about Nigeria Airways people getting their pension. This is incredible.”
How can the government ensure that there are trained Doctors incorporated into the health-care system to take care of the health needs of the elderly?
Join the Conversation
- Dr Newton Jibunoh – Elderly Environmentalist
- Dr Kike Oyekanmi - Psychiatrist, Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Aro Lagos
- Rotimi Sankore - Journalist, Policy and Development Expert
#MorningCrossfire with @wemimospot @SheriffQuadry
By Jude Chukwuemeka