Former Minister of Women Affairs, Chief
Josephine Anenih has lamented growing cases of neglect, abandonment and abuse of the elderly in the society by individuals, governments and organisations.
She said it was worrisome the treatment being metted on aged persons, particularly senior citizens among them, despite their immense contributions towards nation’s growth and development.
Anineh spoke at a one-day Policy Dialogue by Alzheimer’s Disease Foundation with State Government Agencies and Relevant Stakeholders on Health, Social Well-being and Protection Policy for the Elderly in the State as part of activities marking World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, themed, “Elder Abuse Prevention – Lets’ Talk”.
The ex-Minister who is the founder of the organisation said the decision to establish the foundation was informed by the unfortunate death of her elder brother over Alzheimer complications.
She regretted that the disease with no current cure and symptoms affected 5-8percent of persons above 60 years, calling on relevant authorities and stakeholders to imbibe caring attitude for the elderly to ensure they lived longer and better.
She said, “Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and causes a general decline in cognitive ability.
“Since government cannot do everything alone, there is need for people to invest on the upkeep of the elderly people. That’s why we’ll continue to create awareness on the prevalence, prevention and possible cure of the disease and other forms of dementia in our communities.”
Commissioner for Social Welfare, Women and Children Affairs, Lady Ndidi Mezue said the ministry was committed to ensuring the inclusive policy of the present adminstration was factored in during selection of beneficiaries’ interventions.
Mezue, represented by Special Assistant to the Governor, Mr Onyeka Ebenebe regretted erroneous impression that elderly persons were outcast.
She said, “We’re working closely with the national policy elderly to ensure the issue of stigmatization of elderly person s becomes history.
“We’re creating more awareness towards accessibility of the elderly which is part of the Disability Right law of the state and to ensure at least 30percent of the elderly genuinely vulnerable benefit from the interventions.
“We’re also using opportunity of the Ministry’s tour of communities spearheaded by the gover wife to ensure that elderly who are not less than 45percent are not left behind.”
Other stakeholders who made their various commitments at the event included Commissioner for Economic Planning, Budget and Development Partners, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Dan Ezeanwu and Director General, National Orientation Agency, Bar. Charles Nwoji.