One Day International Seminar On Social Care Of The
(In Celebration Of The United Nation Day Of The Elderly)
organized by the National Universities Commission and the North American Nigerian International Coalition on
Aging in Africa and indeed Nigeria is occurring against the background of social and economic hardship, wide spread poverty, the HIV/AIDS pandemic, and the rapid transformation of the traditional extended family structure.
Though Governments, the National and State Assemblies as well as all other stake holders and individuals are not oblivious of the necessity for greater and committed care for the elderly in Nigeria, not much appears to have been done or achieved to ensure better life for the elderly, most of whom have served this nation dedicatedly during their more active years.
Recognizing the lacuna between the care needs of the elderly and current provisions either by way of social security and traditional care, and the very urgent need for improved life style for the elderly, the National Universities Commission in conjunction with the North American Nigerian International Coalition o Aging (NANICA) organized a one day seminar on Societal Care for the Elderly. The event was in celebration of the United Nations Day of the Elderly, with the Theme: The Role of the State, Society and the Family in the Care of the Elderly
Presentations at the forum were made by experts in the field of gerontology, care givers for the elderly and executives of NGOs directly involved in the advocacy for improved life style for the aged. The topics included:
i. Distributing the Burden of Senior Care.
ii. The Roles of Family, State and Society in the Care of the Elderly in Nigeria.
iii. The Roles of Family and Society in the Care of the Elderly in Nigeria.
iv. Adult Day Care, National and State Centre
Participants were drawn from among the elderly, various disciplines and other walks of life. Goodwill messages were received from representatives of Honourable Ministers, Chief Executives of Commissions and Agencies.
Participants had the opportunity to discuss these issues at a syndicate and plenary sessions, noting the various submissions by the experts on the topics and arrived at some far-reaching conclusions.
We, the participants at the one-day seminar on Societal Care of the Elderly held at the National Universities Commission, Abuja on 5th October, 2009:
Noted with appreciation the support of the First Lady of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Hajiya Turai Musa Yar’Adua for her support to ensure the hosting of the seminar; the foresight of the National Universities Commission and the North American Nigerian International Coalition on Aging for the novel initiative;
Noted the disconnect between the expectations in terms of care and concern for the elderly and existing structures, and the urgent need for action;
noted that high unemployment rate limited earning capacity, dislocation of the relationship between the young and the elderly, particularly occasioned by collapsed traditional norms social anomalies, rural – urban migration among many other factors, all rebel against the need to give the aged a better life; and
Recognise that adequate provision for the elderly and assuring them of good life post service will reduce the propensity to corruptly acquire wealth during their active years;
Recognise the need for more structured and formal systems of providing care for the elderly, in addition to deliberately empowering family members to be more involved in the care giving process;
Consequently, do hereby:
Agree that providing for the elderly is the responsibility of the Government, the society and the family; and
Agree on shared responsibilities as follows:
To provide the necessary legislation to formalize and encourage the provision of care for the elderly in Nigeria;
To declare 2nd Monday of October, every year “as International Day of the Elderly in Nigeria”
To fully empower the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development to properly perform its mandate of improving care for the elderly;
To initiate massive campaign/education to increase awareness on the need for all to see the elderly as repositories of our collective wisdom and custodians of our heritage;
To support the initiative of the North American Nigerian International Coalition on Ageing for dealing with issues of aging;
To ensure prompt payment of appropriate gratuity and pension to every citizen who has served the nation meritoriously; and to ensure periodic review of pension rates to accommodate inflationary trends in accordance with the provision of section 173(3) of the 1999 constitution.
To implement harmonization of pensions to reflect equal earning for retirees of equal status.
To return pensions to First Line Charge on the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation in the proposed Constitution, as earlier contained in the 1979 Constitution.
Pensioners should be encouraged to continue to participate in the National Housing Fund and benefit from the Scheme
To initiate welfare programmes for the elderly as part of Government efforts;
Undertake research activities, and policy analysis research and support networks to care for the elderly;
Organize conferences and seminars to expose the care needs of the elderly and innovative ways of addressing them;
Make available soft loans to the elderly and mobilize and integrate the elderly into development as human resource;
Engage in massive advocacy on issues of interest to older persons.
The family should actively play its role of ensuring generations of care givers and a tradition of mutual support for the senior citizens and the elderly
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