Mrs Ngozi John-Uya, Executive Director, Global Knights Foundation, on Monday called on all stakeholders to promote the rights and integrity of the aging population.
She made this call at an event in commemoration of the 2022 International Day for Older Persons, with the theme, ‘Resilience of Older Persons in a Changing World’ in Abuja.
According to her, promoting the rights of older persons is an opportunity for inclusion, wellness as they age gracefully.
She said the plight of older persons was worrisome, with issues of non-payment of pensions, health challenges, and outright discrimination in the country.
“I have two family friends who are in the UK, they had prostrate issues, two of them were operated on free of costs, you go to England you get on the bus, once you have your card, you will not pay for transport, healthcare you do not pay.
“Why can’t we do same here? Rather, what we see is people get impatient with even their own family members that are old people.
“Sometimes, you walk into a room and then you start asking yourself what did they come here for? And then because they are not as fast as they used to be, people begin to get irritable with them.
“You see what happens on pension lines. It is sad, they go to the hospital, you see them, people even move away from them, they say they smell,” she laments.
She called for more advocacy to ensure that the right institutions and policies were in place to promote the rights of older persons sustainably.
The executive director said the group was strengthening partnership with the national commission for senior citizens to ensure that challenges such as transport, healthcare, were addressed in a holistic approach.
Dr Nimi Walson-Jack, a panelist, called for the establishment of care homes for the elderly, saying this helps in promoting their rights and privileges.
According to him, traditional home care for the aging population is not sustainable, with migration of family members into other parts of the world.
He expressed optimism that the national commission for older persons would set up the centres to make retirement years comfortable for older persons.
“I have had incidences of older persons whose children have had to rent a home, have house helps pay for medical attention, transportation arrangements, and you find that on a per unit basis, it is very expensive, and you do not even have peace of mind.
“In Abia state, we had an incident of a mother whose children were abroad and was killed by the house help in 2021 I think, so these are modern things.
“So, we are now advocating that it is time for us to have modern care homes for the elderly, well planned with the right facilities as in other climes, with the right medical facilities, so we really need to create this environment where they can continue to be themselves,’’ he said.
Another panelist, Mr Simon Patrick-Obi, called for strong policies to protect the rights and needs of older persons, saying discrimination affect them psychologically.
He said there was need for government to make affordable transport system available, adding that their safety and security should not be left out.
Mrs Vickie Ojochide, a Wellness expert called on Nigerians to prepare for their old age on time, saying diet, lifestyle had a way of affecting one later in life.
She listed issues of dehydration, toxins overload, nutrient deficiency and emotional trauma as challenges to wellness for older persons.