Posted by Sade Williams
Nigerians have been advised to allow their older persons to be resilient in their daily lives to avoid chronic diseases and stress-related diseases associated with aging process.
The advice was given over the weekend during an event held at Ikeja Local Government Secretariat, Ikeja , Lagos to mark 2022 United Nations Organization’s Day for the Older Persons (UNIDOP).
Speaking at the event organised by United Nations Association of Nigeria (UNAN), to mark this year’s event with the theme: Resilience of older persons in a changing world, the guest speaker Dr. Omolara Aderemi in her topic: The resilience and contributions of older women in the face of environmental, social, economic and lifelong inequalities, noted that because of the inequalities in the society, older persons are rendered redundant in social and economic activities thereby making them vulnerable to many chronic and stress-related diseases in the aging process.
Aderemi said when older persons are allowed to be resilient they are happier, healthier and become useful to economically and socially both to themselves and their communities
She affirmed that through their resilience, older persons live happier lives and easily overcome challenges of chronic and stress-related diseases.
“I’m humbled and delighted to be a part of this special event as we celebrate the priceless virtue of “Resilience” and the invaluable contributions of older persons in Nigeria to various spheres of our society despite multifarious inequalities,” She said.
The guest speaker who noted that resilience is a key factor in facilitating healthy and satisfactory aging noted that older persons who are not resilient are prone to experience chronic health conditions and increasing risk to stress-related diseases.
“In general, this remarkable quality, resilience, is a key factor in facilitating healthy and satisfactory aging.
“Nonetheless, several studies reveal that resilience in older persons is a major protective factor against life stressors and a positive indicator of better health and quality of life.,” she said.
The Canada based Nigerian trained medical expert who dismissed the widespread belief that old age attracts much suffering from loss of physical ability, dignity, and respect, however noted that resilience in old age not only plays a significant role to strengthen self-efficacy for overcoming life’s stressors but also serves as a notable successful aging index; in that it acts as a buffer for overcoming both physical and mental health conditions.
She insisted that encouraging resilience in older persons is not only worthwhile and but has far-reaching benefits
To promote resilience, she said we should not relent in creating more awareness programmes to enlighten the public on various life-enhancing factors and dismiss prevailing negative stereotypes associated with aging.
As a nation, Aderemi said we should be intentional in contributing to measures that bring about the general health and well-being of older adults in our various fields. For example, by giving them the priority and easier access to certain services, granting them subsidies for healthy nutrition where possible to minimise the impact of possible financial limitations. Organizing more targeted medical outreach where medical supplies are distributed to remote regions should be supported. With the advancement in technology, we hope to improve older person’s care via multi-lingual telemedicine shortly. In a religious society like Nigeria, Aderemi who noted that resilience has its pros at help strengthening religious, faith-based, and spiritual pillars said it would go a long way in fostering resilience in the elderly.
She added that policies and practices that preserve their human right and wellbeing should also be promoted.
Encouraging older persons to reinforce their resolve to remain resilient with the aforementioned tips, the guest speaker said the older persons should maintain strong social ties. Whether through cultural events, family networks, social gatherings, or community interaction, saying a strong sense of social connection has the potential to fortify resilience in old age.
In addition, she said a healthy lifestyle in form of a healthy diet, an active lifestyle, getting the needed rest, and adequate sleep should not be negotiated.
Lastly, she advised that resilience could be boosted by engaging in a harmonious relationship that promotes self-esteem and mental wellness while reducing anxiety and depression.
She however submitted, “Essentially optimizing resilience in older persons should be embraced as a collective effort by all”.
Welcoming participants to the programme, the Supervisory Councilor for Agriculture and Social Services Ikeja Local Government Council, Hon Idowu Alarape who thanked UNAN for picking her local government Council for this year anniversary, reiterated the commitment of her council to any programme tailored towards in the benefits of the aged in the local government area.
Earlier in his speech at the occassion, the secretary General of UNAN, Dr Oluremi Olutimo who noted that the topic of 2022 International Day of older persons, recognized the contributions of older female to meaningful development of the world noted that it is only when the voices and perspectives are included that we could create meaningful policies that would meet the needs of mankind.
“UNIDOP is an invitation to action and opportunity to enhance the voice of older women and to showcase their resilience and contributions in society while promoting policy dialogues to increase the safety of older people. Appreciating the vital contributions of older women and supporting the inclusion of their voices, perspectives and needs are critical to creating meaningful policies to enhance a holistic response to local, national and global challenges,” he said.