As Nigeria battles many socio-economic uncertainties that impact the most vulnerable members of the society, there is a need to ensure that the nation’s older generation has access to affordable and high-quality healthcare, Laja Shoniran, the author of Retirement Reinvented, has said.
According to him, Nigeria needs to address the issue of elder abuse and reaffirm its commitment to upholding the rights of older persons as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Shoniran said across generations, there is a need to work together to create a world where elders can age with dignity, respect, and the quality of life they deserve.
Speaking recently at the 2023 Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) – International Day of Older Persons Celebration held in Lagos, Shoniran said fulfilling the promise of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for older persons across generations is apt at this time high-level economic, political and social uncertainties.
He said the essence of the programme was to reflect upon the past, acknowledge the present, and look towards a brighter future where the rights and dignity of the elders are upheld across generations.
The financial literacy professional said that the United Nations’ International Day of Older Persons is significant because it is a day dedicated to honouring and celebrating the invaluable contributions of the older generation.
“We must strive to create inclusive communities where older individuals feel valued and engaged. This involves promoting intergenerational activities, where the wisdom of our elders can be shared with younger generations, fostering mutual respect and understanding,” he said.
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Shoniran pointed out that older persons have played a vital role in shaping society, contributing their wisdom, experience, and labour, adding that they have raised families, built businesses, and enriched culture.
“Yet, despite these significant contributions, they often face challenges such as social isolation, inadequate healthcare, and economic insecurity. In some cases, they are even subjected to abuse and neglect,” Shoniran said.
He observed that abuse of older persons can take many forms, including physical, emotional, financial, and neglect.
“It is a grave violation of their human rights, and we must establish strong legal frameworks and support systems to protect them. Let us commit to raising awareness and providing the necessary resources to prevent and combat elder abuse in all its forms.
“As we commemorate the 2023 World Elders Day, let us remember that the promise of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is not bound by time or age. It is a timeless commitment to the dignity and rights of all individuals, regardless of their age,” he advised.
Shoniran said the elders have enriched the lives of people around them with their experiences, sacrifices, and love, thus, the turn of the younger generation to honour, protect their rights and ensure that they can age with grace and dignity.