The Centre for Aging Studies, (CAS) University of Ghana, has commemorated this year's United Nations' International Day for Older Persons in Accra with the call on the government to pass the Aging bill. Prof. Joseph Osafo Ag Director, CAS, said the Aging bill had been in Parliament since 2018, and they were hopeful that when passed, would roll out three key potential areas of policy implementation that could positively affect the elderly. 'When the bill is passed, the aged will have very active participation in national development, it will save guard their wellbeing and it will enable them to live in safer environments.' Prof Osafo said the day, which is celebrated every year on October 1, was on the theme 'Fulfilling the promise of the United Nations (UN) declaration of human rights for older persons across generations'. He said, 'This year the UN says all persons have fundamental human rights including the elderly and as such we should tell government, civil society, communities, families, and the younger generation that older person do not lose the essence of their personhood because they are older.' The UN has also emphasised the need for intense advocacy on policies, bills and laws that should be passed for the aged. 'So, we are doing this to mark the day and also draw government's attention to the need to pass the Aging bill to ensure that all forms of abuse against the elderly will stop.' The Ag. Director said as a Centre they were involved in a lot of advocacy and conducting cutting-edge research. 'We engage in care giving training, offer courses and programmes on counselling, ageing studies, linguistics, and currently have a journal.' 'This is the only Centre in West Africa that is committed to doing this. We are drawing from multi-disciplinary section of our academic landscape, so that we draw from all strata of society and academic functions to be able to bring on board various interventional skills to help the aged.' Prof. Osafo advised the elderly to eat properly, do physiotherapy and exercise, go out for fresh air, respect the young ones because they will need them at some point. 'You need to be humble and respect the younger generation so that they can take care of you. Try to associate with various organisations, relate with your friends, and this can be helpful for you to live longer and fruitful lives.' He also urged the youth to be mindful of how they managed the elderly. 'If you are young remember, you will also grow, so be careful how you manage the aged. They deserve respect, honour, and patience. Some of them are who they are because they had to sacrifice for you, so you cannot disrespect them. Some level of reciprocity is expected.' He also appealed to Chiefs, community leaders, all religious leaders, civil society organisations to support the Centre to be able to always cater for the elderly. Dr Akosua Agyemang, Senior Lecturer at the Centre said about 1200 older persons participated in this year's celebration which she described as a step in making them feel protected and cared for. She said, formally, the extended family system worked but it had crumpled. 'Most older persons are now left alone at home, though family takes care of them at a distance, but they need people close around because social interaction is good for them, as loneliness is killing a lot of them.' Dr Agyemang, 'said when people grow older, they are not out of place or do not have any fundamental human rights, they can be mentors and trainers for the young ones and as such must be given the requisite care and attention.' A time might come when society would be aging. Where a lot of people would be elderly persons and if the systems have no institutions for older persons, then it would become a problem. 'We are creating awareness so that people would understand the aging process and take care of them, but as older persons, they must also do something for yourselves by dressing properly and eating well to make their old age peaceful and successful. The Centre later launched a journal aimed at educating the public to understand the aging process, teaching them some of the forgotten traditional values, engaging them in healthy aging practices.
Source: Ghana News Agency