Nigeria has a long and interesting history, but it is a young country.
Most of the population of Nigeria are young. 40% are under 15 years, whilst only 4.5% are over 60. The percentage of older persons in Nigeria has not changed much since 1960, while the birth rate has increased. Nigeria’s elderly are a minority group that will rapidly increase in size in the near future. They are vulnerable to abuse, especially in remote areas.
The Age Nigeria Foundation exists to change ageist attitudes that can encourage abuse. It seeks to engage young people in the care of the elderly. And it works to give older people a voice to secure for themselves a better quality of life.
This is an update on our post of October 1st which was the International Day of Older Persons.
Age Nigeria Foundation’s objectives for the day were twofold:
- To increase awareness of ageism in the community
- To increase the visibility of older people’s lived experience of ageism
What is Ageism?
Ageism is the stereotyping of and discrimination against individuals or groups on the basis of their age. Ageism can take many forms. It includes biased attitudes, discriminatory practices or institutional policies that prolong stereotypical belief.
The Rights of Older Persons
In supporting older people to uphold their rights, the Abuse Prevention Program follows the Principles for Older Persons (1991) of the United Nations. These include Independence, Participation, Care, Self-fulfillment and Dignity.
To meet these objectives, Mrs Oluwole delivered a lecture to a gathering of older persons and younger volunteers in Lagos, Nigeria.
Key messages in Mrs Oluwole’s presentation
- Ageism is all around us
- All older people are different. But ageism assumes that growing older is the same experience for everyone
- We must question ageism. The stereotyping of older people in a certain way because of their age is unacceptable.
- We live in a world where older people’s rights are denied. This must change!
- We live in an ageing world. Don’t let it be an ageist one.
- Ageism leads to age discrimination. Like all discrimination, it legitimises and sustains inequalities
- Describing or depicting older age as something to resist or even delay reinforces ageist stereotypes and suggests that living longer is a negative experience for everyone
- Ageism puts pressure on us to reach certain goals at specific times in our lives. Otherwise society will think us “too old” to do them.
- No one can grow younger. But we can live in a world where we celebrate living longer instead of dreading it.
- Let’s begin to appreciate our diversity throughout our whole lives, including in later life.
Please scroll down to the end of this post if you would like to read the full lecture.
Lived experience of Ageism
Deaconess Tomiwa of the Divine Tabernacle Gospel Church addressed the group. She told them of her own experiences of age discrimination. This encouraged more older people to express their feelings about ageism during the event.
Many older Nigerians showed interest in the day. They were keen to hear about what they can do to help each other and stamp out ageism.
Taking a stand against Ageism
Our all-inclusive Age Demands Action summit was a huge success in Lagos. The Age Nigeria Foundation strives to keep older people informed of their rights. It also provides them with ways to improve their lives. Aging should be something that they can be proud of and not something for them to fear. If we to eradicate age discrimination, it is vital that we involve children and youth in our campaign.
The International Day of Older Persons in Ogere.
We followed the summit with similar events in Ogere, a border town in Ogun State. Mrs M. A. Adegunwa, is Senior Principal and Director of the Center for Creative Aging in Ogere. She delivered a lecture on Taking a stand against Ageism. She encouraged the older people to continue to attend social events and contribute to their community. Her overall message was that staying connected would help them to enjoy their old age.
A full and lively discussion took place. The participants analysed ageism and thought of practical ideas to stamp it out of our society. Young people are very relevant in our campaign. They showed this rigorously, with their full and enthusiastic involvement in taking a stand against ageism.
The new fusion of older people’s programmes with youths and children actively taking part during ADA global was unique. It brought out an idyllic and new experience. Not only for the youths but for the older people as well. Young people in Ogere, Ogun state, set the sleeping town agog with their Mini Marathon. Students from Moshood Abiola Polytechnic in Abeokuta competed with Ogere youth. Others came from as far afield as The Polytechnic, Ibadan in Oyo State.
1ST AFUSA ASAYE
2ND FUNKE OWOSANYA
3RD UPE OYETUGA
1ST MUYIWA ADEYEMI
2ND YEKINNI OLAIYA
3RD BABATUNDE OWOSANYA
Congratulations to all who took part in the mini-marathon, and in particular to the winners!
All the youth present hugged the older people at our event. This was an expression of love for our older citizens. It showed the future commitment of young people to the struggles of the elderly and to helping solve their problems. The older people found the actions of the youths quite touching. And in fact they were elated. Open and public demonstrations of love from young people is something that they had never seen before. They considered it an honor. So we did indeed make history in Nigeria on this International day of Older people!
Mrs M.A. Adegunwa, Director of the Center for Creative Aging in Ogere, presented the marathon winners with their prizes.
The International Day of Older Persons in Abeokuta.
In the capital city of Ogun state, Abeokuta, the foundation organized a Conscious Raising Seminar and a Fine Art competition for children.
Kudos to Olamilekan Adebola, Oluwadamilola Oluwole and their group for the success of the Mini Lecture for children. The topic was Showing care and love to our grandparents. By loving their elderly family members, children will grow up identifying more positively with older people. In this way we hope to tackle ageism at its roots.
In the fine art competition, we challenged selected pupils in Abeokuta. We asked them to think about what life might be like for them when they grow older. They expressed their views about aging in their art. it is not easy for the young to appreciate that they themselves will become old one day. Those of us who are old, of course, already know this!
We invited local politicians and government officials to join our campaign against ageism. The turn-out was impressive. Officials representing the state government attended our events in both Lagos and Ogun State. We are very much encouraged by the success of the day. We hope that those in a position to drive change in our country will take up our cause and Take a Stand against Ageism!!!
Age Nigeria Foundation runs many and varied programs for the elderly throughout Nigeria. If you would like to support the foundation with your donation please contact:
Mrs. Oluwayemisi Oluwole, CEO
Age Nigeria Foundation