The Executive Director, Dave Omokaro Foundation, an NGO, Dr Emem Omokaro, on Tuesday stressed the need to build family support systems to cater for the elderly as their population was increasing.
Omokaro told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that building a family support system would also help to curb the difficulties faced by these vulnerable citizens.
According to her, caring for the elderly and families are still part of the African traditional values, in spite of urbanisation.
She said: "According to the National Population Council’s data, the number of old people is on the increase annually and it is necessary to care for them.
"We moved from the 4.5 million we were in 1991 to 8.2 million, and by 2020 they are going to be 10 million.
"t is projected that by 2025, the population is going to be about 25 million and by 2050 it is going to be about 29 million.
"The aged population is growing faster; by the time we are in 2055 we will have about 70 million youths and they will move into demographic transition.’’
According to Omokaro, the family is a starting point in caring for elderly persons and as such, families need to be financially stable to cater for them.
She said: "The primary source of income for family support is still from adult children; However, they have been compromised due to lack of jobs.
"The elderly are increasing in number and government needs to put in place the primary healthcare system, the social development system and care centres for the elderly.
"The family system is still weak and I urge the government to strengthen the family by also providing sustainable jobs for the youths.’’
Omokaro said that there was also need for a data of aged persons in our environment.
"There should be a census of elderly persons including the ones that are childless and the ones without families; this is important in order to care for them."