Foundation fetes 1,000 widows, seeks implementation of senior citizen act
Poised to alleviate the suffering of the elderly in Ifako Ijaiye, the Touch of Love and Lifting Hands Foundation has distributed food items to over 1,000 widows and senior citizens in area.
Bags of rice, cartons of noodles, salt, seasoning, flour, Garri and other staple food items were distributed while cooked food and drinks were also served as the elderly danced in groups.
Speaking at the ceremony, the founder, Mrs. Atinuke Owolabi, said the event was aimed at giving widows and the elderly a sense of belonging, eliminate loneliness and other diseases associated with old age.
According to her, the foundation, which began about three years ago, ran daily recreational and medical care for the senior citizens in a specially built facility dedicated to them in Lagos.
“Senior citizens usually come to the foundation, which opens to the elderly everyday from morning till evening for them to play games, interact and have routine medical check-up and drugs. The foundation also carried out periodic medical outreaches, where experts are brought in to support the elderly citizens with laboratory tests, drugs, food and other recreational facilities as well as enhance their quality of live.
We want to show them they are part of the society and they are also part of decision-making in the country. We want them to know that they are stakeholders in the Nigerian project”.
Owolabi, an engineer, appealed to the federal and state governments to support and implement the national senior citizen’s law, which was recently signed by President Muhammadu Buhari. The Act seeks to establish a National Senior Citizens Center in the country to cater for the needs of the elderly.
She said: “The foundation has a database of over 800 registered widows and senior citizens in Lagos. Those who are 60 years and above fall into the group of those we care for but our major focus are the widows, who are discriminated against in the society’’.
In a remark, the National Treasurer, Senior Citizens Association of Nigeria, Pa Adeniyi Bankole, called on the federal and state governments to upgrade care for the elderly in Nigeria, in line with global practices.
He said: “This is the second time we are holding this kind of programme, the founder has demonstrated so much love for the elderly and we have nothing to give her but to continue to pray for her as she is taking care of the elderly and widows in the society”.
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