Two pro-older persons groups, Dewdrop Foundation (DDF) and Centre for Gender Economics Africa (CGE Africa) have again raised the alarm over the condition of older persons in Enugu State.
This formed part of their statement as Nigeria marks its 60th anniversary as an independent country.
It said the situation is not different in many other States of the country.
The rights groups declared that “Nigeria has not only turned a year older, it has joined the Seenagers – persons aged 60 and above.”
“Today we also celebrate the International Day of Older Persons with our project beneficiaries – the elderly population, as well as the World Decade for Healthy Ageing in Nigeria (2020-2030),” it noted.
In the statement signed by Nneka Egbuna, Assistant Programme Coordinator, Dewdrop Foundation, the groups disclosed that “globally, the number of people aged 60 years and above, is increasing and is estimated to accelerate in the coming decades, especially in developing countries.
“Living longer is a remarkable achievement; older persons are living human treasures and valuable resources who sustain intergenerational ties. As a result, it is very important for them to be included in all development plans.
“Poor planning for the aged impacts all facets of the society such as labour and financial markets, education, housing, health and social care, social protection, transport, information, communication, family structures and intergenerational ties.
“In recognition of the importance of older persons to any community, Dewdrop Foundation and CGE Africa, are currently implementing an 18-months project funded by Oxfam/Voice, which focuses on curtailing elder abuse in 11 communities in Enugu State. Enugu State was selected as a pilot because of the rate of elder abuse in the State, as well as the lack of legislation to protect the elderly and improve their welfare.
“The total selected project communities are eleven (11), namely, Umuode, Akpuoga-Nike, AmechiIdodo, Isigwe Ugbawka, Ndiagu-Owo, Ogonogoeji Ndiuno Akpugo, Ogbeke/Ukuruta Agbani, Ojiagu Agbani, Ishienu Nkerefi, Akwuke and Akwuke-Uwani.
“Findings from our baseline survey established that older persons experienced physical, emotional, neglect, sexual and financial abuse.
“Nearly 3 in 10 older persons across ten communities reported experiencing some form of abuse and/or neglect. Emotional abuse was the most common type of abuse observed, followed by neglect, then financial abuse, sexual abuse and physical abuse. Of those who were physically abused, many of them had broken bones.”
She, however, revealed that “to date, the lives of over 1000 elderly persons in Enugu State have been touched by the project. 11 safe spaces have been established for them in their communities, 20 young people from the community (community mobilizers) have been selected and receive monthly training that enables them to actively advocate for and sensitize others about elder abuse and care of elderly persons.”
“To achieve improved ageing, there is the need to activate all the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“Considering the above, Dewdrop Foundation and CGE Africa call for the implementation of sensitization campaigns and caregiver training on dementia – as one of the causes of elder abuse – by State healthcare systems.
“We also call for the establishment of a platform for key players who will champion the cause of the ageing population (State Committee on Elder Care) and sustain the guidelines for providing care, recognition and respect for older persons in Enugu State as well as other States in Nigeria,” they further stated.