By Tope Templer Olaiya
In a country with a life expectancy of 49 years, growing old gracefully could be wishful thinking, but the St. Paul’s Senior Citizens’ Foundation thinks otherwise. According to this exclusive club for those who are 60 years and above, the power to break this restrictive belief lies in the hands of the individual.
This was the thrust of the message at the 7th annual lecture of the foundation held at Lagos Airport Hotel last week. The co-founder of the foundation, Deaconess Esther Aworinde, said though memory loss and diminishing mental ability is associated with old age, there are ways members of the foundation, some of whom are in their 90s, deal with it.
Some of the suggested ‘to do’ list include learning new things, reading if you can still read, exercising the brain with word search and crossword puzzle, keeping things constantly in one location, eating food that will aid memory loss like fruit and vegetable, singing old tunes and being joyful at all times.
This much was put to test when the guest speaker, Dr. Muiz Banire, mounted the rostrum to deliver his lecture titled Utilization of the Experience of Senior Citizens in Democracy, as he got his audience nodding and cheering while he went down memory lane to bring out lessons to be learnt from past experience in the polity.
Aworinde advanced the creation of a Ministry of the Senior Citizens/Elders, which would seek to promote the dividends of democracy and provision of welfare packages for the senior citizens who had once served the country in their youth.
“With this structure in place, civil servants would look forward to retirement happily without thinking of amassing all the wealth they can steal while in active service, which is the case today. It is most proper to have such a ministry like we have the Ministry of Sports, Youth and Social Development and Lagos can take the lead in this direction,” she said.
Banire admonished senior citizens to be active participants in the process of democracy by ensuring they are first a registered voter and exercising their franchise in the corporate Nigeria by electing the leaders of their choice into elective positions.
The foundation was established 11 years ago by late Dr. Iseoluwa Aworinde and his wife to bring the aged and retirees together under a forum for the enhancement of life.
Members meet every first Thursday of each month at May Clinics Chapel, Ilasamaja area of Lagos to deliberate on issues which include health, nutrition, fitness, education and professional counseling on investment in old age.