The Problems And Effect Of Old Age In Udi Local Government Area, Enugu State
The study was designed to identify the problems and effects of old age in Udi Local Government Area of Enugu State. The research questions guided the study. A total of six hundred and fifty aged male and female alike were used for the study. Questionnaire was used for data collection. The data collected were analysed using mean and standard deviation. Findings, therefore, revealed that many afflictions/diseases face the aged. Based on the findings, recommendations were made.
To carryout the work, the researchers used oral interviews and questionnaire copies of the questionnaire was made, based on means, end standard deviation.
Investigations reveal that causes of problems of the elderly people range from remote to immediate. The remote causes include poor family living arrangement such as establishment of polygamous families, giving birth to so many children and not being able to give them appropriate up bringing at the time convenient to the parents. However it was also discovered that there are some cause which are directly under the control of nature. Such are causes of childlessness death of a spouse or children and family disputes of different natures. Beside the above mentioned causes, other discoveries were made which revealed that the immediate causes include loneliness, poor health condition and lack of medical treatment, poor finance, inadequate housing accommodation and a lot of others.
It is hoped that having identified these problems of the old people, our present day youths will improve on the past, and in the future there will be less of these aspect of problems in our society.
1.1 Background of the Study
Obviously, to live long is a grace from God Almighty of course, the desire and motive of most people in Enugu State with particular reference to Udi Local Government Area and even all over the nation is to be strong and healthy. However, old people have a stage in life to drop nasty attitudes endowed from the youthful age.
In Igbo culture, it is believed that anybody who has grey hairs on the head ulters nothing untrue. This means that those with grey hairs on the head have encountered problems of nature and what ever they ulter must be used to judge them accordingly by the ancestors.
In Nigeria as a whole, this belief is made manifest by the legal practitioners, like the lawyers, Judges and magistrates who put on a grey-haired wigs” in demonstration of their honesty and justice.
The implies that legal practitioners are honest in discharge of their duties and equally play justice according to the evidence of cases displayed in the court of law.
However, there are some individuals who do not like the idea of becoming old because of problems associated with old age. It is common observation that when one start growing old, there is a decline in most of the body functioning’s like conducting velocity of nerve fibers, visual recognition, reaction to light and sound to mention a few.
Rowan (1997), maintained that, “one of the most depressing facts which comes out of any examination of the psychological effects of ageing is that, it is all downward path’.
A regarded as old age. There are no consistent definitions of old age, even among the western societies.
Epidemologists (1985), described old age in terms of current condition of morbidity and mortality, indicating that as days pass by in the life of any individual, there is process of diminishing in good health brought to an end with death. Chambers Encyclopaedia (1997), explains growing old as the progress which being different tissues, organ systems and body fluids marches in response to different causes at different rates in different individuals. It goes further to explain it as a period of life when degeneration occur in a person, that means that the person grows from his state of physical goodness to a lower state, which is normal in life.
Following the views of different writers, there is no agreed specific age when one can be regarded as being of old age.
Encyclopacdia Britannica (1991) assigns the ages between four ties and sixty five years as the acceptable year of old age.
Also, for the same purposes, the people and the government of Enugu State however accepts the age of sixty five as the commensing year of old age. From this age, the civil servants are compulsorily retired and then granted their retirement benefits and pension respectively.
Based on the topic of the study, home management can be defined as the proper management of home domestically by taking an appropriate care of providing and disclosing the desirable needs of the family in collaboration with the wife and as well as the children respectively. This could be regarded as the attitudinal management, behavioural management, self control and as such the general management of home. This entails that any home with out good management, the home is bound to scatter. There will be no peace and harmony in such a home, and all these mentioned above encourage separation and divorce of marriage or marital engagement.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Old age being seen as the declining phase of the life span in various means and or forms comes with so many life challenges. This ageing period/later years constitute a time of high risk of difficulties in one’s life. Preparing to be old is a task which most people are overtaken by events and they do not save or invest enough for their future living at old age the raining day. This epoch, Cullen (2000) stated that so many problems are associated with old age which affect the physical wellbeing of a larger population of individuals both male and female counterpart.
Hnrlock (1987) highlighted the diseases of the aged and their physical handicaps as the following; circulatory disturbances, metabolic disorder of the joints, heart diseases, recheumatism, arthritis, visual and so on. Coupled with physical and psychological problems of the aged mentioned above are also the following problems which are common in the area where the researchers carried out their study such as problem of loneliness, problems of housing accommodation, problems caused at the youthful state. In the light of these problems, this study is designed to determine the factors as problems and effects of old age in home management in Udi Local Government Area of Enugu State.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The main and most crucial purpose of this study is to investigate the extent to which the problems of aged people with particular reference to Udi Local Government Area could be solved. This is because the old people are of much value to the society, for they are seen as the custodians of tradition and culture in any society. They are instrumental in maintaining per feet peace and order, by setting minor disputes outside the law court the study however seeks.
- To identify the causes of aged people’s problems and offering suggestions on how they will be solved.
- To make investigation and good aspects of becoming old, so as to erase in the minds at people the idea of repressing getting old.
- To ascertain ways of bringing to the knowledge of the public a standard living pattern that can make the days of aged people most healthy and psychological depressions that can accompany old age.
- To faster stronger human relationship with the aged people and other members of the community so as to make life more enjoyable to them.
- To find out other factors hinder the sustainability of old people in the area of the case study.
1.4 Significance of the Study
This study will be valuable to the aged people in Udi Local Government Area in particular and Enugu State in general. The study will create a good background of understanding for people to exhibit some attitude of tolerance, endurance and sympathy. In the face of the problems of the aged. The younger generation in our society, the people who have not established their own homes and yet to do so, will benefit by taking cognizance of the shortcomings of their ancestors in order to refrain from them. It will help to take care of the aged people not be allowed to vanish for they are the custodians of our tradition and culture. Their basic needs should be adequately provided for them in order to expand their life spans.
1.5 Research Questions
The researchers formulated certain questions which we hope that if answered will proffer solutions to the problems. They are as follows;
- To what extent does polygamous family affect the lives of aged people in your council area?
- Do some children depend on the income of their aged parents.
- Are their factors that frequently affect the life span of aged people in your council area?
- Does the earning (if any) of the aged people satisfy the maintenance and management of their homes.
- Does good relationship between the new generation and semi-old people promote the standard of their living?
1.6 Limitation of the Study
The time to carry out this study was so short and therefore the researches were restricted to carry out the study in one local government area. The cost of materials as a result of the current inflation in the country also limited our work within this scope.
1.7 Scope of the Study
It does not really covers all aspect of people’s home management in the council area. It covers only the problems and effect of old people in home management in Udi Local Government Councils of Enugu State. And equally, it covers the appropriate care to be taken by people around the aged people, especially those that might have extended to the age beyond reasoning.
1.8 Definition of Terms / Acronyms
A belief definition of the term used in this chapter is given to avoid ambiguity.
This refers to passing from one state of goodness to a lower state by loosing the qualities which are considered desirable.
Involution means, the normal shrinkage of an organ after fulfilling it’s normal functional purposes.
Mortality is the ratio of the total number of deaths to the total population.
Diminishing refers to as ways of making thing becomes less or small.
Conclusion and Recommendation
A phenomenological study of ageing amongst the older persons in Enugu was undertaken with a purpose of learning the causeand effect of old age.
The need to undertake this study derived from the challenges posed by the complexity of the meaning of the concept ageing, the nature of age-related health problems, the current trend of population ageing, the social impact of HIV and AIDS, and the prevailing socio-economic situation of the country. The literature reviewed suggested these factors might have negative or positive impact on the quality of life of the older people and influence their perceptions about the ageing phenomenon. The literature reviewed also suggested that enhancing or maintaining the quality of life of the older people is a social and moral obligation of governments and society as a whole. However, the available evidence suggested that Nigerian government and society was not adequately prepared to care for the older people. It was in view of the above challenges and problems that the study was undertaken.
Looking at the lived experiences of the older persons of Nigeria, the main results of the findings showed that three dimensions (health, socio-economic, and psychosocial) should be considered in the understanding of the lived experiences of the older persons of Nigeria. The study suggests that the lived experiences of the older persons of Nigeria comprises of three dimensions: health, socio-economic, and psychosocial emerging from deteriorating health status, inappropriate health care services, insecure source of income, lack of/ or poor social welfare services, lack of social support, and psychological distress; associated with a variety of negative feelings and meanings.
The health dimension of the lived experiences of the older persons is characterizes by deteriorating health status and inappropriate health care services. The deteriorating health status emerged from the chronic health conditions and other age- related problems. These conditions were viewed as restricting physical mobility and autonomy of the older persons to perform activities of daily living and other activities they used to do. They also expressed frustration and concern toward the above changes. Inappropriate health care services emerged from their interactions with the public health services, which were viewed as unfriendly, unaffordable and inaccessible.
The socio-economic dimension of the lived experiences emerged from a context of financial dependence, inability to meet their basic needs, and poor living conditions. It was characterized by insecure source of income and lack of/or poor social welfare services; and viewed as loss of social status associated with fear of being neglected, anxiety and despair.
The psychosocial dimension of the lived experiences of the informants emerged from the deaths of breadwinners (spouses and adult children or relatives), the limited resources, the deteriorating health status, and the lack of social welfare services. This dimension was characterized by lack of social support, and psychological distress. It was deduced that the older persons of Nigeria are living in a psychosocial environment which lacks social support and characterised by psychological distress associated with the negative meanings and feelings such as social burden, loss of companionship and isolation, selective social prejudice, hopelessness, helplessness, and search for love and affection.
In conclusion, the main findings of this study indicated three most significant dimensions of the lived experiences of the older persons: health; socio-economic and psychosocial. These dimensions need to be taken into account when planning for any programs or interventions aimed at maintaining or improving the quality of life of the older persons of Nigeria. These interventions and programs should also address the negative feelings or meanings attached to the above experiences. The main findings of this study also show that; the meaning of being older or ageing in Nigeria does not only depend on the health, socio-economic and psychosocial living experiences of the older person but largely depends on the inner values of the older persons. Which include spiritual, emotional and cultural beliefs. This means that maintaining or improving the quality of life of the older persons in Nigeria would require comprehensive programs or interventions that should take into account the health, socio-economic, psychosocial, spiritual, emotional and cultural needs of the older people.
In view of the main results of the findings of this study, it appears that there is an urgent need to implement specific measures in order to improve the quality of life of the older people in Nigeria. Such measures should target the health status of the older persons, the health care providers, the health care services, the social welfare services, the psychosocial well being of the older persons, spiritual and cultural beliefs of the older persons.
It is therefore recommended that:
Older people should be regarded as vulnerable group and treated accordingly. This can be achieved by raising community awareness regarding problems affecting the older persons, setting up of geriatric clinics within the existing health facilities and mobile clinics to attend to the health problems of the older people. Raising awareness of the community regarding problems affecting the older persons in the country might lead to a change of attitude and the provision of support. The provision related to the older people in the current health policies need to be adhered to and reinforced by relevant authorities. The older people need to be educated about the age-related problems, self-care practices and their rights to access quality care and services.
Formal geriatric training should be developed and made available to health professionals in the country. In –service training, seminars on geriatric nursing should be offered to nurses, and other health professionals attending to the older persons. Formal training or in-service training of nurses and other health professionals would increase their understanding of the ageing and age-related problems and equip them with knowledge and skills to provide quality care to the older people. This would also change their attitudes towards the older people.
Specific social welfare measures need to be taken to assist the older persons with their financial and basic needs. As shown in this study, the social burden experienced by the older persons due to the social changes and the impact of HIV and AIDS is of great concern. Such assistance would require not only the involvement of the government, but the community, the non- governmental organizations, and the society at large. It means that structures should be put in place to register and evaluate the needs of the older persons.
New ways of extending the social network of the older people should be investigated. The traditional reliance on family members as primary source of support is no longer relevant due to social economic changes. Given the changes in the family structure, and loss of the cohesiveness of the extended family, care of the older people should now be considered a public issue. The prevailing economic powerlessness of the older people need not be seen as a familial burden but a shared responsibility with the state and other stakeholders. The family should only operate as a safety net device, which should provide basic necessities of life and death. Support groups for the older people should be established within the different communities. These support groups will offer the older persons the opportunities to share their problems, give mutual support and instil hope amongst them.
The current social welfare policies need to be extended and adapted to the living experiences of the older people. The revised policies should include provision of legislation, governance, and financial, material resources and possibly care services that ensure full participation of the older persons. The existing Pension scheme, which favours only those in the formal sector employment, should be reviewed. Though being onpension is no guarantee for financial security. The process of accessing the pension is very long and tedious. In most cases the pension payments are meagre, erratic and over devalued to an extent that they cannot sustain subsistence.
Further research should be taken to establish the coping strategies used by the older people in dealing with their living experiences. Research should also be taken to establish the impact of the socio-economic experiences of the older persons on their well being, to validate the meaning ascribed to being old or ageing by the informants of this study in a big sample.
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