FG to boost care for older persons as figure hits 19.2milllion in Nigeria
With the population of older persons rising to 19.2 million and projected to increase to 30 million people by 2050, the National Senior Citizen Center (NSCC) has reiterated its commitment to boost care for the older population.
The Director General, NSCC Dr Emem Omokaro, while speaking at a courtesy visit to the National Board Technical Education (NBTE), stated that the centre intends to standardize the capacity of caregivers to ensure that they are adequately trained to provide the needed care for older persons.
According to the DG, research has confirmed that urbanization, migration, technology working role conflicts in families and other non-cultural factors such as correlated insufficient support systems for older persons, increasing care burden of few family caregivers who provide care without any training or support has impacted negatively on the care for older persons in the country.
She lamented that the quality of care given to older persons is often poor and in some cases, leads to gross abuse of fundamental human rights of older persons, especially incapacitated older persons, adding that gender roles, which assign caregiving to the females hinder efforts to expand education, employment and economic opportunities.
Omokaro stressed the need to develop long-term care systems to enable older people to receive the care they need and live lives with dignity, saying that organized care services can be complemented with cultural values, retain family involvement and respect norms of family obligation.
She observed that care of older persons in Nigeria is currently only focused on medical care with little or no attention to social care by trained care providers but with an increase in the incidence of chronic diseases among older persons, there is a need to shift emphasis to palliative and long-term care at home, community and residential care facilities is the direction to go.
She said: “The shift will require that hospitals are used for acute care while residential care facilities, nursing homes, respite care facilities, assisted living arrangements, home and community care and other skilled or supervised care arrangements would be utilized for long term care of older persons.
“Integration of these models of care with existing health system and specialized geriatric centres will reduce the burden of care of the acute care settings and the untrained informal or family cares while the existing primary health care system will need to incorporate social care in the community.”
Omokaro added that NSCC intends to partner with NBTE to design standards for caregivers and care agencies administration and ensure care quality assurance in both guidelines for certification, employment and practice.
She said the partnership would also provide and develop concrete training modules on programming and core competencies for caregivers, administrators and proprietors of care agencies adding that it would also design, build and publish a registered website portal for registering Care Agencies and Care Givers.
The Director, of Skills Development, NBTE Engineer Abati Mohammed, who represented the Director General, said the board intends to standardize, assess and train caregivers of senior citizens.
While noting that the older persons are not provided with standard care, he said the board is ready to partner with the centre to ensure senior citizens get the best treatment for health, personal development and their livelihood.
He disclosed that the two organizations will be signing a Memorandum of Understanding to develop qualifications, standardization and benchmark training development for caregivers of older persons.