Traditional ruler of Ifitedunu, Dunukofia Local Government Area of Anambra State, Igwe Dr. Emeka Ilouno has pledged to partner with First Best Domiciliary Home Care World, a non-governmental organisation to provide care for the elderly in his community.
Ilouno, a surgeon and public health physician regretted that many elderly persons were dying out of loneliness and depression, promising to volunteer his medical knowledge and experience to the elderly free of charge.
Speaking on Saturday at the project inauguration, the monarch described it as unique, novel and timely in view of increasing sufferings across the country, calling on spirited individuals to support the group.
He said, “So much people are dying in their droves and one of the contributing factors is loss of hope. As you get older, your circle of friends reduce, you get weaker and poorer, irrespective of what you’ve saved in life.
“You also discover that you’ll be depending on people who are also suffering, weaker, poorer than them. You discover such persons end up dying of loneliness and depression.
“As a surgeon, public health physician, anastasis and as a teacher of medicine, by the time I join the team to look at the patient, I’ll be able to decipher those who need treatment. Our communities will work with you so our people can age gracefully, be fulfilled and live longer.”
Earlier, a clinical psychologist, Prof. Kanayo Ofodile regretted that old age was treated as death sentence in Nigeria, especially when considered how children abandon their aged parents without care and compassion.
He called for a re-orientation of the younger generation on the need to see the care of the elderly as an obligation.
He said: “I reside in a civiized country, U.S to be precise, and we see and learn how they care so much about old people who are vulnerable and cannot cater for themselves anymore.
“But it is a sad situation in our country. It looks like old age is a death sentence in our society. Children abandon their aged parents and relatives without care.
“Many aged persons are homeless, abandoned, lonely, unhealthy and unkempt, hence, the establishment of this organisation. There is the need to start prioritizing care for the elderly.
“We will be going round the state to pick up and cater to abandoned aged persons and our trained social officers will be going to give home care to those who crave for such services.
“We will be applying spirituality, clinical formulation and reasoning to improve the lives of the aged. Our society should not abandon the elderly, they are still very relevant.”
Chairman of the event, Mr Ikemefuna Nwafor, noted that the programme was targeted at setting a template on what should happen to the aged segment of the population.
Director, Care Services Nigeria, Mr Ekene Mbah said that over 80 per cent of the elderly in the society lack good domestic care and spend their old age through pains due to negligence and lack of caregivers.