HEALTHY AGING IN IRRUA-EKPOMA, EDO STATE, NIGERIA

In Nigeria, those aged 65 and above make up 3.1% or 5.9 million of the total population of 190 million Nigerians (Population Reference Bureau, 2012). The care of the elderly population starts within each local community and then to the State and National level.

Presented by:
Gift Olema Oputteh in conjunction with Precious Gems (UK)

INTRODUCTION
In Nigeria, those aged 65 and above make up 3.1% or 5.9 million of the total population of 190 million Nigerians (Population Reference Bureau, 2012). The care of the elderly population starts within each local community and then to the State and National level.

KEY INFLUENCES

  • Poverty
  • Lack of good health care
  • No retirement planning

KEY CHALLENGES

  • Inaccessible health care
  • Lack of potable water and water borne diseases
  • Poor housing and lack of caregivers
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LOW SOCIO-ECONOMIC STATUS
These photos show two elderly persons – a man and a woman – doing hard labour in difficult environments to make ends meet. Women are even more vulnerable.

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POOR ACCESS TO GOOD HEALTH CARE
Bad roads and a poor transportation system make it difficult to access health services and restrict access to what is good. Understaffed, poorly funded primary health care facilities. Health care providers are inaccessible and basic drugs are not available.

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LACK OF RETIREMENT PLANS
Here an elderly man is taking his produce from the farmland to the market using a motorcycle.

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INACCESSIBLE HEALTHCARE
To get to the health center, elderly villagers must travel by any means necessary on bad roads.

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Lack of portable water and water borne diseases
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POOR HOUSING AND LACK OF CAREGIVERS
The elderly woman in this photo lives alone in a dilapidated home with no one to care for her.

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Signs of Hope
“Catch them young” – early care and treatment are key. Free medical rural outreaches are important for reaching the geriatric population.

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Signs of Hope
One-on-one counseling session during a rural medical outreach.

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Signs of Hope
The message here: “You are not forgotten, help has come.” 
TouchingLives@Christmas, a local NGO distributes gifts and supplies to elderly residents of the community.


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Signs of Hope
Three generations together: father, daughter, and grandson. Grandma still goes to church to participate with the church’s local choir. This maintains physical activity, prevents a sedentary lifestyle, and gives social support.

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SOCIAL SUPPORT NETWORKS – CHURCH, FRIENDS, SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
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BUILT ENVIRONMENT – RECREATIONAL FACILITIES & PLACES TO WALK
For those who are able and have the desire, accessible recreational facilities make it easier for them to exercise and be physically active. Physical activity helps to alleviate some medical conditions common in old age such as osteoarthritis, obesity, diabetes mellitus, and hypertension.

HEALTHY AGING IN IRRUA-EKPOMA, EDO STATE, NIGERIA

Conclusion
Aging is an important stage of life. The health and well being of its geriatric population should be every country's pride.

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