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Passionate appeal for love, care for the elderly

As the world marked International Day for the Elderly Persons Sunday, a CBO in Nandi County, Agui-Kogo Caring Services, has appealed to families to passionately love and take care of the elderly.

Tinderet Deputy County Commissioner (DCC), Esther Olivia Oyugi, speaking during celebrations to mark the International Day for the Elderly Persons in the area, emphasised that family members should adequately provide for their parents’ basic needs for their good health.

“It’s the turn of the children to take good care of their parents, just like they did to us. This will save them from languishing in poverty. Let’s obey our parents and accord them the respect they deserve,’’ Oyugi said.

On her part, the CBO founding member, Dr. Truphena Korir, said the majority of older people in the country were uncared for, thus being left exposed to vulnerable health conditions.

“They don’t have caregivers after being left alone by their families, and some don’t go to the hospitals for routine medical checkups,’’ she said.

This total neglect, Dr. Korir observes, has resulted in some elderly persons being affected by bacterial infections, and in the process, they develop chest pains and very serious hypertension, which their children think are age-related health complications.

She advises that we should strive to earnestly engage the elderly in light exercise to boost their personal health.

“Our main objective is to take care of elderly persons aged 70 years and older. We formed the organisation in 2011 that was duly registered by the Department of Social Services in 2012,’’ she informed.

Other core activities that they undertake include the promotion of social interactions among older persons, the provision of pastoral care and spiritual nourishment, medical services, food, and other basic necessities like clothing.

As the only CBO in the county serving the interests of senior citizens, Dr. Korir recalls that before the COVID-19 scourge, they had reached out to a substantial number of them.

“Currently, we have managed to reach between 110-170 elderly persons in each sub-county. And during this October Awareness Month, we seek to engage more from the other neighbouring area,’’ she revealed.

The organisation’s secretary, Esther Kosgey, reiterated that they also connect the elderly through their respective churches and build houses for those living in deplorable conditions after conducting site visitations.

Similarly, Kosgey stressed that they also take care of their caretakers and family members of the elderly to enable them to offer better services and prevent the possibility of being left alone.

Another founder member, Pastor Austin Berem, underscored the challenges facing the CBO, including lack of adequate funds to fully sensitise the public on the ideal importance of taking care of the elderly for blessings and communal prosperity.

“It’s our solemn appeal to both tiers of government (National and County) to assist us in whichever way. We are soliciting funds to ensure that all the elderly persons in Nandi County are reached,’’ Berem clarified.

Other methods deployed by the organisation to raise funds include the organisation’s forums for money-generating activities such as carving, weaving, basketry, making traditional artefacts, and utilising the talents, gifts, skills, and wisdom of the elderly.

Eric Bargetuny, a local philanthropist, lauded President William Ruto’s administration for issuing monthly stipends to the elderly for sustenance. However, he called for an increase in the stipends, especially in hardship areas.

The deputy county commissioner also hailed the government’s recent drive to register additional older persons to ensure that they benefit from the Sh2,000 monthly stipend.

“We advise the elderly to prudently use the money and avoid alcohol and drugs,’’ stressed Oyugi.

Meanwhile, the rapidly changing trends in technology, politics, and the economy are posing a great challenge to elderly people. On a positive note, however, the new technologies offer some of them much-needed social interactions through online platforms through the use of a smartphone.

By Kosuri Valarie

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