Mrs. Olubunmi Sodade, Executive Director, Nigerian Association of Retired People (NARP50+), has urged the three tiers of government to evolve structures to cater for the elderly toward improving their wellbeing.
Sodade made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Lagos.
According to her, many elderly people are lonely, neglected and impoverished; issues that affect their health, social and economic wellbeing should be improved upon to make life satisfying for them.
“A lot of elderly persons in Nigeria are faced with the challenge of exclusion.
“By the time you are 45 in Nigeria, you are excluded from the job market, finances, and some socio-economic programmes.
“It is nobody’s fault that Nigeria is a country with over 60 per cent young population.
“However, we need to put structures in place because these young people will also become old and there will be more problems.
“This is the time to start putting structures in place for the elderly. Healthcare is a major challenge for many elderly persons, also recognition like low discounts and benefits,” she said.
Sodade said that these interventions should be a public private collaboration.
“For example, BRT should be made free for people who are 60 years and above and they should be excluded from paying land use charges.
“We need to make life easier for them and start listening to them to know what they want because many elderly people play significant roles in society as leaders, role models and custodians of tradition,” she said.
Sodade noted that NARP50+ was committed to addressing issues that would enhance the experience of the elderly in participating in socio-economic activities that matter to them.
“What we do at NARP50+ is that we try to get discounts, privileges and benefits for people that are 50 and above in services like healthcare, travels, hospitality, energy, among others.
“We partner with different service providers so that we can make life easier for the elderly and stretch their money since most elderly persons are on fixed income or pension,” she said.
She expressed optimism that the Senior Citizens Centre set up by the Federal Government would implement targeted initiatives, especially in the rural areas to improve the welfare of the elderly. (NAN)