The Campbell Centre, Lagos was agog with activities on the 24th and 25th of September 2019 as Lemon and Feathers (LNF) organized a 2-day conference themed, ‘Ageing in the developing world 2019, The Nigerian Story… with a focus on the Dementias. The event highlighted promoting ageing as a public health and social care priority in Nigeria, raise awareness on dementia and facilitate Government policy makers, stakeholders, and NGOs for an express team-man-ship to advocate for action against dementia as well as encourage discussions and familiarity among rapporteurs.
The event slated to kick-off by 9 AM buzzed with an influx of attendees and participants as well as guest speakers from various categories.
Titi Adeleye and Gbenga Akinsete gave a welcome note and shortly after the opening prayer, the Chairman, Sen Dr. Eze Ajoku (President of the Coalition of Societies for the Rights of Older Persons in Nigeria- COSROPIN) gave a goodwill message. He said that COSROPIN is very active in the advocacy for a better life for older persons and are very optimistic that the efforts of LNF in educating the ageing population will bring about a boost in the care for the elderly.
There was a formal presentation of Team LNF and Yinka Williams speaking on behalf of the team encouraged everyone to stand as stakeholders in this journey and work as teammates to make the elderly our focus.
Her Excellency, Mrs. Bamidele Abiodun (Wife of the Ogun State Governor) was also present at the event and she commended the good work being carried out by LNF and encouraged them to keep the pace going. Thereafter, there was a short playlet to dramatize the theme of the event.
The keynote speaker was Dr. Seyi Roberts, a Consultant Physician, and Neurologists, Owner, Royal Cross Medical Centre, Lagos who spoke on the theme of the event. He stated that the belief that dementia is an accompaniment of old age is false, as one of the major challenges encountered in ageing is the sudden decline in cognitive functions. Old age is not a criterion for this decline, it is as a result of a disease that requires medical attention. Dementia was defined as a broad category of brain diseases that causes long-term loss of the ability to think and reason clearly, that is severe enough to affect a person’s daily functioning and Alzheimer’s disease is the commonest cause of dementia, responsible for 75% of all cases of Dementias. Speaking on dementia advocacy in Nigeria, he said the ultimate solution to the care of the aged and those suffering from dementia in our country is Universal Health Coverage (UHC) without discrimination on account of age. It was then opened for questions from participants.
A panel discussion was carried out on ‘Financial Management and Legal Matters’ chaired by the Moderator, Mr. Olayimika Olasewere (Barristers and Solicitors). Mrs. Vivian Shobo (CEO AGUSTO & CO) speaking on financial management advised seniors to avoid dealings in businesses not learned in early life at retirement as it oftentimes leads to loss. She further added that seniors should avoid doing any investments with returns that are not predictable. She recommended risk-free investments such as fixed investments, bonds (especially those issued by the government), shares, and capital markets to mention a few and also they should always endeavor to seek professional advice. Mojisola Olugbemi (Stark Legal) speaking on legal matters advised seniors to have a will, trustee, codicil, insurance or capacity living trust. These would ensure the availability of funds for use in time of old age and/or illness. In the case of dementia, it would ensure the protection and accessibility of assets for use in management and care. It was then opened for questions after which the event was brought to a close.
Day 2 began with a market place and exhibition viewing by participants. Various medical and lifestyle support were on the ground to render their services to interested persons. Thereafter, a paper presentation was carried out by Dr. Richard Adebayo (Consultant in Geriatric Psychiatry, Yaba Neuro-Psychiatry Hospital) on An overview of Dementia, the challenges in its management in a resource-limited economy. Dementia is a public health concern and is prevalent worldwide though often misdiagnosed. Its causes are complex and multifactorial and some of its challenges include hospital visits, hospitalization, treatment issues, Activities of Daily Living (ADL) and follow-up care, family, finance, and frictions. He recommended the need to pay serious attention to the elderly and encouraged NGOs to partner with existing health agencies for optimal output. In conclusion, the wellbeing of our senior citizens should be a concern to ALL of us. This was followed by questions from participants.
As part of the activities for the event, participants were engaged in a low impact exercise where Oyinka Talabi (Eko Wellness Network) demonstrated various stretches and Pilates that can be done by the ageing to keep fit without going overboard.
There was a panel discussion on Lifestyle, Wellness, and Wellbeing, Poor Health Preventions and Management. The discussion highlighted the need to adopt a healthy lifestyle early in life to avoid/minimize health challenges in old age, identify the best contingency plans for one’s situation in case of loneliness, exclusion or despondency and so on.
Participants were given some time to visit any of the lifestyle and medical support and enjoy their free services.
Thereafter, 2nd-panel discussion on Home Care versus Care Home was carried out. Mrs. Folake Babatunde Olofijana speaking on the ‘burden of care’ said that care of the elderly is teamwork and should not be relegated to professionals alone. She encouraged adequate care of the elder, as exclusion is a form of abuse which comes with a negative impact on aging. Mrs. Victoria Ike-Onu (Grace Nursing Care Centre) talked about training of caregivers to adequately deliver home care services which could be in a Resident home or Nursing home.
There was another low-impact exercise and stretches where participants were actively engaged.
Thereafter, a 4th-panel discussion on Planning for the Twilight Years was carried out moderated by Bisi Soji Oyawoye (LNF). The discussion highlighted the need to build fallback plans in terms of income, identify your health risks and put the right resources in place to address them as those who arrange their affairs in time are taking a mature approach to issues that affect the majority.
The discussion was then opened to questions from participants. There was a wrap up of activities followed by an appreciation of all participants by LNF.
As earlier mentioned, It is hoped that among many other expectations, this conference would promote ageing as a Public Health and Social care priority as the LNF team is set to keep the trailblazing come next year with the theme AGEING IN THE DEVELOPING WORLD 2020 -THE NIGERIAN STORY…WITH A FOCUS ON THE CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASES (CVDs).