Okereke, who was lecturing over 80 men and women participants on the theme “Digital Equity for All Ages” organised as part of the activities marking this year’s “International Day of Elderly” by the Alzheimer’s Disease Foundation (ADF) in Amawbia, Anambra state on Thursday, urged many groups both within and outside the country to support the fight for old people rights.
“Nigerian pensioners going on the streets protesting over their rights is disgraceful, that is the country we have found ourselves,” he said.
Enumerating challenges facing the old people having dementia or Alzheimer disease, Okekere said that such illness is preventable with early cares.
“These diseases are not curable, but there are new researches. There are clinical trials now to ensure our ageing people look healthy.
“No big or small person is free from dementia or Alzheimer’s, a serious disease of the mind caused by brain disease or injury or usually from 60 years above, but there are things we must to prevent it.
“These good activities for them include reading of books to make the brain active, having enough sleep from 7 pm, listening to soft music, participating in gaming activities such Chess, Monopoly and Scrabble. These games help tasking the brain,” he said.
The Geriatric doctor said also that group discussion in a classroom help the elderly to aviod dementia and Alzheimer’s because part of the cause is depression as depression comes from loneliness.
According to him, taking banana, cucumber, carrot and watermelon fruits regularly are good for the elderly.
“They help to calm the nerves down and you sleep like babies,” Okereke said.
He said that taking Ice Cream which contained a lot of sugar is “death” for the elderly or taking doughnuts and cakes, stressing that “there are some ingredients in it not good for the elderly”.
A former Minister of Women Affairs, Iyom Josephine Anenih, who is the founder of ADF has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for signing a Bill into law for an Agency for the elderly.
She said the National Senior Citizens Centre, an Agency had been set up with Dr Emem Omokaro as the Director General.
“This is a lucky year for the elderly in Nigeria, an agency had been set up, the National Senior Citizens Centre, we also want it to be upgraded to a ministry soonest, but even with the agency in place, it shows government is now interested to take care of affairs of the elderly,” affirmed said.
She commended also various state governments that have initiated policies to take care of the elderly, particularly Edo state.
“We are encouraging policy makers to make more policies for the elderly, particularly the Coalition of Societies for Elderly Persons in Nigeria,” Anenih said.
She noted that the society is already giving respect to the elderly because when the people get old, they will enjoy it such too.
“The elderly are very much respected and celebrated in our society today. They are seen as the repository of knowledge, culture, tradition and norms of every community,” she said.
According to her, modernity is however changing things on the role of elderly in the society and their roles diminishing.
“The children are also helping matters, most of them preferred living in the cities or in Diaspora leaving their parents suffering loneliness, depression, neglect at home, and a lot of negative feelings coming to play,” Anenih added.
She said that ADF was helping to make the elderly live happily, adding that the centre is open to all to come and socialize daily