I have been busy and unable to post here lately. But today is a special day for all of us – it’s . . .
World Health Day.
It is the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide.
Elderly people can suffer from depression
Due to the burgeoning aging population, we are seeing depression increasingly in older people. Often, their circle of friends dwindle, their families grow up and move away and their physical health begins to decline. Isolation and loneliness often follow, no matter what part of the world they live in.
It is vital that we recognize depression in the elderly. We should never pass it off as simply something we expect as we age.
Depression can be treated
We can take steps to prevent depression in our elderly. When we do see it, we can let them know that they can get help.
Age Nigeria Foundation joins the fight against depression
She will tell us what is happening in her part of Nigeria to support older people fighting depression.
Depression rates peak in older age
Our foundation joins with Age Demands Action (ADA) to spread the word about depression among the elderly.
ADA is a global platform for older people to campaign on the issues that matter to them. Each year on World Health Day hundreds of older people take action. Their mission is to raise awareness about health issues affecting them. They inform their governments about how they can make needed changes.
Helping the elderly in our region to keep healthy
Today Communities in the Eredo-Epe Local Council Development Area, Ogeere and its environs in Ogun State will join thousands of people from more than 40 countries. They will make sure that the voices of older people are heard. This year the focus is on talking about depression.
We are holding a Conscious Raising Week for the older people of Lagos and Ogun State, with the following activities:
Social interaction puts a smile on the faces of seniors in Nigeria
Informing our Government Officials
|Older campaigners will pay a courtesy visit to the Sole Administrator of Eredo Local Government in Epe Lagos State. Hon Okesanya Muyiwa and the Executive Governor of Lagos State Mr Akinwunmi Ambode.
They will present our fact sheet on Depression to the government officials and demand free medical treatment for older people in Eredo LCDA and Lagos State generally.
“ We are pleased with the government’s efforts in providing more Primary Health Centers, and the improvements to existing ones in the state. We want to use this campaign to appeal to the government to provide free medical surgeries on cataracts for older people in Lagos State”, said Mrs. Tomiwa.
Another Older campaigner Pastor Okewande said “The Sole Administrator (Chairman) of Eredo Local government has been making life worth living for us the older people. Within his short stay in office he has brought development to our communities. We will ask him to facilitate the building of recreation parks for older people within the communities in his Local Council Development Area. This will help combat depression in older people in the area”.
What can be done to prevent and treat depression?
Globally, about 350 million people of all ages suffer from depression. 7% of older people are affected.
Multiple social, psychological and biological factors determine a person’s mental health. But the circumstances older people face mean they are more likely to experience isolation, loss of independence and loneliness. They may, for example, face bereavement due to the loss of a loved one, or a drop in socioeconomic status and income with retirement. These factors can contribute to depression.
“Depression is an important public health problem and it’s devastating in old age. 15 % of older people in Nigeria suffer from depression. It is associated with an increased risk of morbidity and decreased physical, cognitive and social activities. Depression affects people differently. At worst it can lead to suicide. A number of lifestyles changes including exercise, diet, herbal medicine and spirituality can help people manage the symptoms.” said Dr Tosin Hassan, Medical Adviser at Age Nigeria Foundation.
What can local government officials do to help?
There are plenty of actions that governments can take to tackle depression in older age. They can ensure access to treatment and support such as counselling; address income insecurity through pensions; and facilitate Older People’s inclusion in society. Age Nigeria foundation is a non-governmental organisation. It advocates for the welfare and rights of Older People in Nigeria. It promotes various projects which are helping Older Nigerians to contribute to their immediate communities in different regions.
The new Centers For Creative Ageing and Research (CEFCARE) in Lagos and Ogun State give older people access to a recreational and developmental base. There they can come together in their own community. These centres enable them to advocate for their rights as older citizens. They support their mental well-being by encouraging social interaction, exchange of ideas and sharing of life experience with their peers. Their physical health is enhanced with suitable exercises to keep fit and healthy as well as participation in games.
The centers help older people fight loneliness and depression by building resilience. They drive self-help projects which encourage older people to take part in developing their communities. This in turn empowers them in the society. They support our elders to be healthy in body and mind by keeping them active and nurturing a feeling of belonging. CEFCARE’s main objective is to create an age friendly environment in Nigeria.
Many countries join together to get the word out about depression
Older men and women are marching in many other countries as well, meeting with Ministers of Health and hosting poetry events to raise awareness of depression and other health issues affecting older people.
“It is important older men and women know that mental health and emotional wellbeing are as important in older age as at any other time of life,” said Kate Wedgwood, Director of Network, Advocacy, Communications and Campaigns at HelpAge International.
“Building on the momentum to tackle ageism by campaigners last year, we are encouraging older people to challenge ageism within the health sector too. This is crucial in ensuring increased access to health services for older people, including treatment for depression.”
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