Cofounder of the Michael and Cecilia Foundation (MCF) and former banking executive Cecilia Ibru has assisted Nigerians in a variety of ways, including through business training, education, and food programs. Since elder care is one of multiple social service programs Cecilia Ibru makes available to the community through the MCF, she welcomes initiatives such as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) that underscore for all segments of the population some of the unique challenges that confront the elderly.
On June 15, 2013, thousands of elders rallied in Lagos, Nigeria, as in many other municipalities, to recognize WEAAD. Initiated in 2006 by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA), the day marked a global observance of the difficulties that face aging communities everywhere.
Traditionally, Nigerian families care for family elders. However, extreme poverty sometimes translates into abandonment when adult children cannot earn enough to feed both themselves and their parents. Currently, there are not enough private and public programs to service all the nation’s elders adequately. However, organizations such as Nigeria’s Concern for Elders Initiative (CEI) advocate for improved services for the elderly while others like the MCF provide facilities and elder care programs.
Ageism and elder abuse are not uniquely African concerns, of course. By 2050, the number of people aged 60 and over is expected to account for over half the world’s population. Unfortunately, research has found that around 5% of elders experience some form of financial, emotional, or physical abuse. This suggests that quality-of-life issues facing elders will only increase in coming decades all over the world.
Fortunately, organizations like INPEA and CEI serve to raise awareness of the challenges confronting the elderly through high-profile events like WEAAD.