Today the 15th of June is World Elder awareness day. A day set aside to campaign against ELDER ABUSE around the world, but sadly when it comes to Elder-hood Affairs, Nigeria is lagging behind.
There are three phases to human life;
Childhood – Ages 0 to 17
Adulthood – Ages 18 to 64.
Elderhood – Ages 65 till death.
According to United Nations and International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA) Elder Abuse can be defined as “a single, or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust which causes harm or distress to an older person”.
It is a global social issue which affects the Health and Human Rights of millions of older persons around the world, and an issue that deserves the attention of the international community.
The World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) happens each year on June 15th. It represents the one day in the year when the whole world voices its opposition to the abuse and suffering inflicted to some of our older generations.
In many parts of the world elder abuse occurs with little recognition or response. Until recently, this serious social problem was hidden from the public view and considered mostly a private matter.
Even today, elder abuse continues to be a taboo, mostly underestimated and ignored by societies across the world. Evidence is accumulating, however, to indicate that elder abuse is an important public health and societal problem.
Elder abuse is a problem that exists in both developing and developed countries yet is typically underreported globally.
Aging or old age is peculiar to elder/senior citizens. Old age refers to ages nearing or surpassing the life expectancy of human beings, and is thus the end of the human life cycle.
Old age is a sensitive phase; elderly people need care and comfort to lead a healthy life without worries and anxiety. Lack of awareness regarding the changing behavioral patterns in elderly people at home leads to abuse of them by their kin.
Although growing old is part of human existence, the elderly face challenges that can come at a time in their lives when they have few resources to rely on.
Social isolation, worsening physical and mental health, healthcare costs, financial insecurity, and elder abuse are all challenges that many aged people face.
Nigeria has over 9 million senior citizens. Sadly, the immediate family members, trusted caregivers or the society often subject the elderly in Nigeria to abuse.
The Elderly constitute the most vulnerable group after children. This group is highly marginalized. The society needs to begin to see the elderly holistically as a group like children or the youth or women.
The elderly have always been seen as objects for welfare and a burden on the family and the system. They need to be seen as people who have rights, preferences and prejudices.
What they want is nothing more than equal human rights, nothing more.
In the prime of their lives their contributions to the nation should be recognized and acknowledged. They want equality, which is a human right. They are repositories of wisdom.
They have garnered experiences over the years that influence their thoughts especially towards the growth and progress of the nation.
They built the country and made it what it is today. Without their collective efforts of the past, there would not be the Nigeria of today.
Forms Of Elder Abuse
👉 Physical Abuse
👉 Psychological or Emotional Abuse
👉 Sexual abuse
👉 Neglect and abandonment
👉 Structural/Institutional Abuse
👉 Societal/Culture Abuse
Elder Abuse affects 1 in 10 older people. The shame and fear factor attached to elder abuse makes it under reported and it requires the combined efforts of the community to combat this hidden social issue.
Why Old Care?
There are various instances in the Qur’an and Bible where old age is mentioned. Islam and Christianity teach us to treat elders with respect.
Respecting our elders should be a courtesy ingrained in every one of us. Common grace and manners are to treat elders with dignity and respect.
Sadly, these important dignities have been largely forgotten in today’s society and that why June 15, 2020 is declared as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.
Agencies, organizations, communities, professionals and foundations like ours (OldCare.NG) around the world will observe World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.
Oldcare.ng is a not for profit organization that is geared towards providing aid for the senior citizens (Age 65 upwards). Our LONG TERM GOAL is to build a fully functional and well-equipped elder home in each state of the federation.
Our short term goal is to make provision of basic amenities to the older citizens and payment of Monthly salaries for life to older citizens from 75 years above.
The level of awareness on the plight of the elderly is low in Nigeria, as pioneer elder care NGO, we hope to lend our voice against Elder Abuse and say No to mistreatment of older people. Our message for older people is that they are not alone, we are here to help!!!
You can reach out to us by following us via Instagram @oldcare.ng or call 08161164753 or send an email to oldcareng.gmail.com
Yetunde Odusote, Founder Old Care Nigeria
Okanlawon Teslimat, Volunteer Old Care Nigeria
Shakirat Abiola, Volunteer Old Care Nigeria