A social, welfare worker, Mr Sule Chogudo, has advised governent at all levels to take the welfare of the elderly seriously by giving them a sense of belonging and the desired comfort.
Chogudo, a Deputy Director, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, Abuja gave the advice in an interview with Newsmen on Sunday in Abuja.
He said that the old people, having spent their youthful years contributing to the growth and development of the county deserved comfort in old age.
He said: “There is the need for the aged or the elderly to be adequately catered for by government.
” These people have contributed their quota to the development of Nigeria, either in public service or as private citizens, the society needs to reciprocate by providing them the needed comfort during their old age.
“We are talking of “old persons” who have clocked 60 years and above, and retired from service or ” older” persons, who are 70 years and above.
“Those people have special needs and they require special care, only government is in a position to make facilities available for such care.”
Chogudo suggested that infrastructure in the country should be provided with adequate consideration for the elderly, as is done for people living for disabilities
” For starters, design and construction of government infrastructure and facilities should be done with consideration for old people.
“Just like people living with disabilities, old people deserve such consideration for them to have easy access to public utilities.”
The deputy director also suggested the provision of “geriatric hospitals” and “geriatricians” in rural communities to take care of the health needs of old people, who mostly reside in the rural areas.
” Old age comes with so many health challenges, and most of our vulnerable elderly population reside in the rural communities with little access to medical care.
“Some of them start to suffer dementia, diabetes, stroke, and other ailments requiring special medications.
“Government should provide geriatric centres (specialised hospital for old people) and specialised geriatricians in all senatorial districts across the country to give them easy access to health services.
” As at today, only the National Hospital in Abuja has a geriatric department and this is grossly inadequate.”
He advised Nigerian youths to shun “elderly abuse” and imbibe the attitude of care and respect for old persons, reminding them that they would also grow old some day.
“Old age is neither an ailment nor a curse; it is, rather.a blessing from God; I advise our youths to shun elderly abuse and always give regard and care to our elderly.
” Just as we condemn child abuse, we should take cognisance of the fact that these elderly people are also vulnerable and prone to abuse, which might have devastating effect on their health.
” Every youth will potentially grow old, and the treatment they extend to today’s old persons might equally be extended to them in future.”