In Nigerian families, reverence for one’s parents runs deep. Family members believe that caring for their elders is a moral obligation. Our society’s family structure has changed dramatically in recent decades due to diverse reasons. Many older parents may have to end up in old age homes as a result of societal transformation and changing lifestyles. The rise of nuclear families, particularly in urban areas of Nigeria and the emigration to developed countries, will drive the need for old age homes.
Because of novel medical routes and improved living situations, life expectancy has continually increased. Throughout the world, the number of elderly individuals is rising. People’s physical, psychological, and social roles change as they get older. Depression and loneliness are two of the most common issues among the elderly that contribute to a lower quality of life.
There is still a natural and instinctive support system for the elderly and infirm in a country where united families are still the rule rather than the exception. As a result, the concept of old age homes remains foreign to many people, who associate it with abandonment and apathy toward the elderly.
We also lack a culture of putting money aside for retirement. Parents believe that if they have a son or two, the male progeny will be a safe reserve for their retirement years. The elderly often have specific needs, such as being immobile or having limited mobility, which some families appear powerless to address.
Many people think of old age homes as a terrible result of heartless and uncaring offspring, but this isn’t always the case. A well-equipped and staffed retirement facility or home for the elderly could provide several advantages to the elderly, including attendants or nurses to care for medical conditions or respond to accidents, other like-minded individuals for emotional support and physical company, recreational facilities, and so on.
Furthermore, many children are unable to care for their elderly parents who are suffering from chronic illnesses. The high unemployment rate amongst the youth has also placed a lot of pressure on eldercare coupled with the high cost of living.
Furthermore, despite the fact that old age homes are starting to spring up in the country, not all of them can afford to give good service and care. The majority of them operate out of rented space and are unable to afford their extremely expensive monthly recurring expenses. These costs are too high for middle-class families to bear. “Our elderly parents come from a middle-class background. The costs are prohibitive for these households. After three or four months, children frequently do not appear. We then take it upon ourselves to cover their costs through donations. “It should be the government’s responsibility to build and manage senior citizen shelter homes.
The paradigm of utilizing old age homes must shift in the mindset of Nigerians so that the elderly can live a dignified life as the structured care and support in a very good retirement home will prolong the lives of the residents.
These retirement communities can be an opportunity to meet new people, pursue new interests, learn new skills, and spend more time in God’s presence. It will assist in combating senior loneliness epidemic. It’s very easy to keep loneliness at bay when both caregivers and family members commit to meaningful contact with seniors. There are a few things that can be done right to guarantee that the elderly one’s health is not harmed by loneliness.
Community engagement such as donating to eldercare homes through organisations that cater to the needs of the elderly will help alleviate the numerous needs of the demographic. Financing for modern retirement living should also be made available to organisations that have the foresight to build retirement homes in Nigeria.