Abuja – The Dave Omokaro Foundation (DOF), an NGO, has called on the Federal Government to initiate an old age grant policy, especially for the vulnerable and extremely poor among the aged.
The Executive Director of the Foundation, Dr Emem Omokaro, made the call at an event in Abuja on Wednesday to commemorate the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.
Omokaro, who said that providing social protection policy would reduce abuse, suggested that the aged with functional ability should be engaged in order to prevent depression.
She said the inclusion of ageing and the needs of older persons in national development policies and programmes would help to reduce abuse faced by older people.
According to her, Nigerians believe that there is nothing like abuse against the aged in the society, but everyday elderly people face one form of abuse or the other.
She noted that such abuse included poverty, verbal insults, neglect and physical abuse.
Omokaro also said that setting up a national framework for ageing would enable older persons to live with dignity and feel secured.
The expert said Nigeria should recognise the inevitability of population ageing and the need to adequately prepare stakeholders for the growing numbers of older persons in order to curb abuse faced by them.
She said “the country makes policies for the benefit of the youths but no one is considering a policy for the ageing person.
“There is an urgent need to train the workforce in geriatrics medicine for improved competence and effective public service delivery to the elderly.
“There is need for health and healthcare retirement policies and social security, as well as old age enabling environment for the aged populace.”
Omokaro also said there was need to mainstream ageing into all gender policies, taking into account the specific requirements of older women and men.
“As we move about promoting other things, we should teach our senior citizens how to take care of themselves, especially in the areas of age-related illnesses such as diabetes, arthritis, among others.
“By having a national framework on ageing, we can put things in order, such as income security, social security and long term care, as well as recreation centres for the elderly,’’ she added. (NAN)