Social distancing for a lot of elderly people also means isolation and some levels of negligence due to economic hardships accompanied by the loss of  income.
Apuoga-Nike “Senior Teenagers” ; Seenagers meet to  learn and share experiences, while taking the necessary precautions. Masks and respect for social distance rules  apply in every gathering.

Despite the specialized healthcare needs associated with ageing, in Nigeria it is not unusual for families to care for elderly relatives at home. However, harsh economic conditions and urbanization are sending more working-class Nigerians farther away from home. As a result, senior care is being left in the hands of hired caregivers, when affordable, or to no one at all, when not affordable.

Dewdrop Foundation, in partnership with Centre for Gender Economics (CGE) Africa, is currently implementing an 18 months project; CURTAILING ELDER ABUSE IN 10 COMMUNITIES IN ENUGU STATE, funded by Oxfam/Voice, to ascertain the degree of elder abuse in ten pilot communities in Enugu State. Enugu State was selected as a pilot because of the rate of elder abuse in the State as well as the lack of legislation to protect the elderly and improve their welfare. The project therefore seeks to improve the welfare of the elderly by giving them “a voice” through the establishment of the “Seenagers’ Associations” (safe spaces) in eleven selected communities. The selected communities are: Umuode, Akpuoga-Nike, AmechiIdodo, Isigwe Ugbawka, Ndiagu-Owo, Ogonogoeji Ndiuno Akpugo, Ogbeke/UkurutaAgbani, Ojiagu Agbani, Ishienu Nkerefi, Akwuke and Akwuke-Uwani.

Due to changes in tradition and the intensifying effect of social isolation on Nigeria’s growing elderly population, it is important to provide safe spaces for the elderly. With the elderly population  in Nigeria expected to reach 20 million by 2050, care for the elderly is essential to provide social and emotional support  to the elderly. Combined with the passing of peers and loss of financial freedom due to retirement, ageing can be a trying and difficult phase of life. Dewdrop Foundation celebrates the elderly by supporting a safe space for them to share life experiences.

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By Maryanne Kooda.