Dr Emem Omokaro, the Director-General, National Senior Citizens Centre, has said that ageing is a blessing and that the society should not see dementia associated with it as witchcraft.
Omokaro disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja.
She said that the centre is carrying out programmes on advocacy to disabuse the minds of the people that dementia is not witchcraft.
“A lot of older persons are going through abuse, stigmatisation, isolation and maltreatment based on their dementia condition.
“There is a case of a female professor in the South-South Region of the country that was stripped naked, humiliated and shamed because of her dementia situation. This is a former commissioner. It is that bad.
“There are a lot of similar cases in all parts of the country where older persons with dementia are being abused on false notions that they are either witches or wizards.
“We are going to take action on dementia. People should know that ageing is a condition of living and it is a blessing to be ageing, because many people die at young age.
“Ageing is an opportunity, when someone is ageing, it means he or she is living. So, we need to dignify and respect them.
”There is need to add value to ageing and that is what the NSCC is all about. Don’t despise an older person, they have a lot to offer the younger ones,” Omokaro stressed.
On the involvement of young people in the activities of the centre, Omokaro said the youths would also be carried along.
“We will get the youths to understand via advocacy and inter-generational livelihood forum that ageing is a population; give yourself 20 to 30 years, that is where you are.
“We will also reorient the youths to be able to know that ageing is a great blessing and they should respect older persons, because, it is not easy to grow old. They should be celebrated.
“In most of our programmes, we try to create linkage between senior citizens and youths. For instance, in the centre we need the youths to come in as volunteers and update their digital skills and capacity.
“Both the youths and older persons would volunteer to work for the centre and get paid. Thus, carrying the youth along,” she stressed.