The Oluwayemisi Obashoro-John Foundation (OLOF) on Saturday said there was an urgent need for government at all levels to introduce ageing education to the public, in a bid to reduce the burden associated with old age.
The Founder and Executive Director of the foundation, Prof. Oluwayemisi Obasoro-John, of the University of Lagos, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on the sidelines of the 12th annual lecture of the Foundation in Lagos.
According to her, with adequate sensitisation on how to remain active, as well as cope with health and social challenges that come with ageing, the elderly would find life easy, as they age gracefully and happily.
She said that the desire to reach older persons through ageing education had kept the foundation going through the years.
“This is the 12th in the series of this foundation lecture, which holds annually.
“The whole essence is to gather many elderly persons out there, every year, and try to impact in their lives by giving them tips of living healthy in old age.
“The essence is to take care of those that are there now and we prepare those who will get there.
“If we all stay long enough, we will get there, so why don’t we get ready now, so that when we get there, the burden of ageing will have gone down considerably and be well taken care of,” she said.
She noted that during the lecture, topics were usually chosen around issues that have to do with health, as well as social issues.
The don said that if individuals should understand some changes that were going on in their lives, the lecture would enable them to prepare adequately for health and social challenges of ageing, among others, well on time.
“So, we normally go for topics that affect their lives, at this time, maybe social issues, but basically we go for medical issues.
“I am not a medical doctor but we get health personnel who talk to them on days like this, on issues concerning health.
“Before now, they were educated on issues bordering on arthritis and other health issues.
“This year, our topic is on ‘Respiratory Challenges’. We may not actually be having respiratory issues presently, but our lifestyles may carry us to the kind of problems we may be having, as we age,” she said.
Obashoro-John said that the lecture, which normally attracted no fewer than 350 elderly persons each year, drawn from every part of the state, also had some representatives of the Senior Citizens of Oyo State in attendance.
She said that the response of the participants showed that they were always looking forward to it, as they were excited to be part of it.
According to her, the participants whose ages range between 60 to over 90 years, see the event as a sort of outing.
She noted that aside the lectures, the senior citizens were usually issued newsletters on tips of healthy living.
The don said that because of her passion in taking care of the elderly, she had authored four books: “Caring for Older Persons”, “Ageing Gracefully”, “Successful Retirement” and “Journey After 50”.
One of the participants, Chief Ayorinde Ore, called on government to put up more social facilities that would cater for the needs of the elderly in the country.
Ore, who is the National President of the Senior Citizens Association of Nigeria, said that many of the senior citizens, who fall into this category, are usually traumatised.
He said that they were subjected several challenges because there was nothing in place to enhance their ageing peacefully.
Ore called for the establishment of social homes that would take care of the elderly, in order to ensure that their health and other needs were taken care of, centrally.
He lauded the efforts of the executive director of the OLOF, for taking the giant strides, in making life more meaningful to the aged persons in the state.
“This Foundation has done a great job by putting smiles on the faces of our people.
“We are always excited about the lectures which normally bring us together and we pray that she will also find life very easy and fulfilling, when she becomes like us,” he said.