The theme for this year’s International Day for Older Persons (IDOP) focuses on age and ageing in the face of pandemics.
“Pandemics: Do They Change How We Address Age and Ageing?”
As the world contends with the current pandemic, the adverse effects are seen in the increasingly harsh conditions older persons have to grapple with. This ranges from challenges in coping with functional, physical and psychosocial health status of the aging process, changes in family dynamics, increased medical needs, increased economic hardship, decreased functional independence, and more startling the fact that older people are classified as “vulnerable” with respect to COVID19 and face high risk of dying from it, due to physiological changes that come with ageing and potential underlying health conditions.
With the foregoing, the answer this year’s theme seeks to address is NO, Pandemics do not change how we address age or ageing. Rather it should increase our individual and collective effort towards the care and concern of older persons
It is a call to question what our values are and how important it is in the care of older persons. DAGOMO recommends its first two core values of Love and Service to humanity as prescriptions to address the IDOP theme 2020.
Interestingly Nigeria our dear nation turns 60 today, the age largely accepted as the age of the older person.
There is no better time than now for our nation to take deliberate steps towards caring for her older citizens by ensuring elder care policies and legislation are enacted that holistically address the aged and the ageing populace. However, beyond policies and legislation, the people who drive and implement policies must do so from a value driven point of view. Policies do not drive themselves, people do, and people driven by the right values will implement policies rightly. Everyone must adopt the right value of love and service to humanity that way whether pandemics or not, it will not change how we address age or ageing.
Values determine our attitude, and our attitude determines our actions.
While we at DAGOMO continue to act as a catalyst for positive change by being the bridge that links the elderly with opportunities for a better life, we encourage everyone to join this movement for the elderly and nation building.
Happy 60th Independence Day to Nigeria! Happy International Day of Older Persons!!
United Nations General Assembly Resolution (45/106) of 14th December 1990, designates 1st of October as the International Day for Older Persons, while the year 1999 was declared the International Year of Older Persons.
The year 2020 is significant in a number of ways, firstly this year marks the 30th Anniversary of the International Day of Older Persons and secondly, the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations, thirdly, the year has been recognized as the “Year of the Nurse and Midwife”. The 2020 observance will promote the “Decade of Healthy Ageing” (2020-2030), but sadly the year 2020 recorded the upheaval of the COVID-19 pandemic which broke out in December 2019. Furthermore, 1st October 2020 marks the 60th Independence Anniversary of The Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The 2020 theme of this year’s International Day of Older Persons aims to:
- Inform participants about the strategic objectives for the “Decade of Healthy Ageing”.
- Raise awareness of special health needs of older persons and of their contribution to their own health and to the functioning of societies in which they live.
- Increase awareness and appreciation of the role of the health care workforce in maintaining and improving the health of older persons with special attention to the nursing profession.
- Present proposals for reducing the health disparities between older persons in the developed and developing countries so as to “Leave no one behind”.
- Increase understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on older persons and the impact on health care policy, planning and attitudes.
“The Decade of Healthy Ageing” (2020-2030) and “The COVID-19 Pandemic”
“Healthy Ageing” is the process of developing and maintaining functional ability that enables wellbeing in older age. “Functional Ability” is having the capabilities that enable all people to be and to do what they have reason to value.
Over the next 30years the number of older persons worldwide will double with estimates and projections placing the number at 1.5 billion by 2050, with 80 percent living in low/middle income countries.
This population increase of older persons is projected to occur in Eastern and South Asia with 261 million in 2019 to 573 million in 2050. The fastest increase in this demography is expected in North Africa and Western Asia with 29 million in 2019 and 96 million in 2050, the second fastest increase projected is in sub-Saharan Africa where population of citizens aged 65 years or over grew from 32 million in 2019 to 101m in 2050 an increase of 218 percent.
Ironically, this rapid increase in persons of 65 years and above is expected to take place in the least developed countries, a growth from 37 million in 2019 to 120 million in 2050 an increase of 225 percent.
The Decade of Healthy Ageing (2020-2030) is an opportunity for governments and non-government organisations, civil societies, international agencies, professionals and the private sector for action and collaborative efforts to improve the lives of older persons, families and communities. This decade of concerted effort towards the objectives has become imperative as populations age at a faster pace, this demographic transition will undoubtedly have an impact on all aspects of society.
It becomes ever so critical in countries defined within the high growth geographical zones, where development in these countries have failed to meet rapid population shifts and worsened by the rampant infections of the COVID-19.
DAGOMO Foundation is committed and positioned to provide the needed interventions in supporting all stakeholders and participants local and foreign with the vision of providing quality care for older and aged persons. Adopting the significance of International Days DAGOMO Foundation on this day has chosen this medium to enlighten the public on issues of national and global concern, while creating the necessary awareness. DAGOMO Foundation is building support and support apparatus towards mobilizing essential resources to address this escalating problem. NOW is the time for our nation to concretize steps taken towards the care of older citizens by ensuring elder care policies and legislation that holistically address the aged and the ageing populace are enacted.
While congratulating the Government and People of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the 60th Independence Anniversary, we invite all to engage with us at the DAGOMO Foundation as we remain resolute and unwavering in our mission be a bridge in society, in advocating and promoting ageing with dignity.
Happy Celebrations on this International Day of Older Persons!
“Be ashamed to die until you have done something beneficial to humanity “– Horace Mann
Consider the following different, yet related stories. These stories all beautiful, based on real life experiences, explain the concept, “the smaller the purpose, the more meaningful”.
Mr. Smith is 80 years old, and his son who is 8 years old lives with him in a popular city in Nigeria. He has twenty-one children from seven wives. As at the time of this documentation, he was to be ejected from his rented apartment because he was owing on his rent. His family was reached to help, but his children made a case around his not taking care of them while growing up and in retaliation, they were not going to help him now that he is in need.
I am not equipped to talk about whether what the children did was the right or wrong thing to do as doing that will bring about a discussion loaded with assumptions. What is clear to me is that everyone deserves dignity. Caring for the elderly and reducing elder abuse is what we live for at DAGOMO. With this at the back of our minds and with the help of his fourteenth child, we were able to inspect other buildings to find him a new shelter.
“Life is short” is one cliché people do not like to hear. They say it is considered unoriginal, and some people do not even know what it means. It does not translate to blowing up all your savings because you may die soon! No! It means, being skeptical but never cynical, it means, being ashamed to die until you have done something beneficial to humanity. Are you still thinking of what you can do?… You can become a super volunteer, like some of our current volunteers featured below:
- Mr. Kiji is a native of the town, who joins us in carrying out grassroots advocacy, people listen to him because he is held in high regard.
- Mrs. Bodia is experienced in religious outreaches for youth and prisoners. She understands empathy, which is why she has decided to always help the elderly in the area of welfare.
- Cletus on the other hand is another kind person, who other than giving clothes and food to the elderly takes out time to visit, just to sing for them.
- Dayo is a barrister, her visual impairment does not stop her from being kind and understanding. She considers herself privileged and offers her time in service at DAGOMO, providing legal advices and as a facilitator for adult literacy classes for some of our beneficiaries
DAGOMO Foundation runs a wellness program on Thursday every week and this gives volunteers a platform to help the elderly. We do routine medical checkups, adult literacy classes, legal services etc. all at no cost to our beneficiaries.
Finally, there is a list of selected days to celebrate the elderly around us. Caring for those who once cared for us is one of the highest honors known to us. These days comprise:
- October 1- International Day of Older Persons
- June 1- Global Day of Parents
- June 15- World Elder Abuse Awareness Day
On selected days like these, we encourage as many of us who can, to seek opportunities to do something beneficial for the older persons around us…
DAGOMO Foundation is always available for collaboration to positively impact the lives of older persons in Nigeria. We would also appreciate the help of volunteers with expertise in any of the above areas to boost the work we do.
Please call us on 0817 124 2444 for any inquiries or contributions.
World Hepatitis Day is commemorated each year on 28 July to enhance awareness of viral hepatitis, an inflammation of the liver that causes a range of health problems, including liver cancer.
There are five main strains of the hepatitis virus – A, B, C, D and E. Together, hepatitis B and C are the most common cause of deaths, with 1.3 million lives lost each year. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, viral hepatitis continues to claim thousands of lives every day.
This year’s theme is “Hepatitis-free future,” with a strong focus on preventing hepatitis B among mothers and newborns. Last year, the theme of World Hepatitis Day was ‘Invest in eliminating hepatitis’.
Hepatitis C Facts
Hepatitis C is a liver disease caused due to hepatitis C virus (HCV): the virus is capable of causing both acute and chronic hepatitis, varying in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, lifetime illness. Hepatitis C is a major cause of liver cancer.
Hepatitis C virus is a bloodborne virus: It is mostly caused by getting infected through exposure to small quantities of blood. Reasons such as injection drug use, unsafe injection practices, unsafe health care, transfusion of unscreened blood and blood products, and sexual practices often leading to exposure to blood.
An estimated 71 million people have chronic hepatitis C virus infection globally.
Most of those who are chronically infected will develop cirrhosis or liver cancer.
Antiviral medicines are capable of curing more than 95% of persons with hepatitis C infection, therefore reducing the risk of death from cirrhosis and liver cancer, but access to diagnosis and treatment remains low.
Till now, no effective vaccine against hepatitis C has been made; nevertheless, research is being carried out.
“We must make haste then, not only because we are daily nearer death, but also because the conception of things and the understanding of them cease first.” Marcus Aurelius
Taiwo just like anybody else felt right to throw the old lady to the dogs, an expression meaning that she let the situation with her grandmother be judged by the common people, whom she felt understood her plight better. It all began some months back, Iya Adeola exhibited some suspicious behaviours. Iya would go to the bathroom and forget to turn off the faucet, thus, wasting the water in the tank; other times, she would lit the gas cooker in an attempt to prepare a meal and twice almost burnt down the house, which prompted Daddy Taiwo to install a fire alarm system. Occasionally, she would forget the names of anyone, often times accusing her family of attempting to kill her. These and many other incidents made Taiwo to conclude that her grandmother was a witch out to wreck them all.
This story is similar to the situation many people experience in living with aged parents or relatives. The sad thing is that these older persons are not intentionally causing havoc as they also require help for themselves.
Dementia is a syndrome in which there is deterioration in memory, thinking, behaviour and the ability to perform everyday activities. Although dementia commly affects older persons, it is not a normal process of ageing.
Dementia results from a variety of diseases and injuries that primarily or secondarily affect the brain, such as Alzheimer’s disease or stroke.
Dementia may have old age as its most common risk factor, but it is not an inevitable consequence of ageing. People below age 60 years experience dementia and this accounts for 9% of eventuality.
Studies show that people can reduce their risk of dementia by getting regular exercise, not smoking, avoiding harmful use of alcohol, controlling their weight, eating a healthy diet, and maintaining healthy blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels, Additional risk factors include depression, low educational attainment, social isolation, and cognitive inactivity.
The impact of dementia can be overwhelming for the families of affected people and for their carers. Physical, emotional and financial pressures can cause great stress to families and carers, and support is required from the health, social, financial and legal systems.
Mrs. Ifueko Omoigui Okauru(MFR) – is the former Chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), the Executive Director of DAGOMO Foundation, and a Strategy/Change Management Consultant.
She is also a member of several boards including Central Securities Clearing System PLC (independent director); Diamond Bank PLC (independent director); Seplat Petroleum Development Company PLC (independent director) and Nigerian Breweries PLC (non-executive director).
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Dr Alero Roberts is a senior lecturer in the College of Medicine University of Lagos and an Honorary Consultant to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital. She has become a thought leader on the Covid 19 impact in Nigeria, and the Lagos State response.
She has a special interest in public health research that focuses on access to healthcare, quality of service delivery, maternal and child health.
She is the Vice President of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa, the 2nd Vice Chairman of the Association of Public Health Physicians of Nigeria (Lagos State Chapter), and the mother of Nigeria’s only 5-time gold medalist in Special Olympics swimming – Damola Roberts born with Downs Syndrome. She is a sought-after Christian counselor to families of children with intellectual disabilities
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Mrs Iyom Josephine Anenih (Esq, mni, FNIM) is a one time Minister of Women Affairs and a leading voice for women’s right in Nigeria. She is also an international advocate for the rights of older persons particularly those suffering from dementia and the founder of Alzheimer’s Disease Foundation (ADF).
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