Press Release: Depression Rates Peak In Older Age– Older Men And Women Are Taking Action To Raise Awareness In Lagos, Ogun And Zamfara State In Nigeria

Older campaigners mobilise on World Health Day (7 April) to raise awareness of depression in older age.

Age Demands Action’s older campaigners in Ilara, Odonoforija in Eredo Local Council Development Area, Ogeere and its immediate communities in Ogun State and Zamfara in Northern  Nigeria will join thousands of people from more than 40 countries on World Health Day to make sure the voices of older people are heard and to encourage them to talk about depression.
ADA is a global platform for older people to campaign on the issues that matter to them. Each year on World Health Day hundreds of older people take action to raise awareness about health issues affecting them and how governments can make changes.
There will be Conscious Raising Summit for the Older people with the topic Depression in Older Age, Free Medical Treatment, dancing, football novelty match, indoor-games competitions. It is a one week activities that will take place in Lagos and Ogun State in Nigeria. Older campaigners will pay a courtesy visit to the Sole Administrator Eredo Local Government in Eredo Epe Lagos State. Hon Okesanya Muyiwa and the Executive Governor of Lagos State Mr Akinwunmi Ambode. The Older Campaigners will present the fact sheet on Depression to the government officials and demand for free medical treatment for Older people in Eredo LCDA and Lagos State generally.

“ We are happy for the government efforts in providing more Primary Health Centers and improving on the existing ones in the state we want to use this campaign to appeal to the government to provide free medical surgeries on cataracts for the older people in Lagos State”, said Mrs. Tomiwa. Another Older campaigner Pastor Okewande said “ We will also ask the Sole Administrator (Chairman) of Eredo Local government who has been making life worth living for us the older people by bringing development to our communities within his short stay in the office to facilitate building of  recreation parks for older people within the communities in his Local Council Development Area. This will help combat depression in older people in the area”. He concluded.

Globally, an estimated 350 million people of all ages suffer from depression, and 7% of older people are affected.

Multiple social, psychological and biological factors determine a person’s mental health. But the circumstances older people face mean they are more likely to experience isolation, loss of independence and loneliness. They may, for example, face bereavement due to the loss of a loved one, or a drop in socioeconomic status and income with retirement. These factors can contribute to depression.

“Depression is an important public health problem and its devastating in old age.15 % of older people in Nigeria suffers from depression. It is associated with an increased risk of morbidity and decreased physical, cognitive and social activities. Depression affect people differently .At worse it can lead to suicide. A number of lifestyles changes can help people manage the symptoms which include exercise, diet, St John Wort and spirituality,” said Dr Tosin Hassan, Medical Adviser at Age Nigeria Foundation.

 “There are plenty of actions governments can take to tackle depression in older age. They can ensure access to treatment and support such as counselling, address income insecurity through pensions, and facilitate Older People’s inclusion in society”. Age Nigeria foundation, a non- governmental organisation that advocates for the welfare and right of Older People in Nigeria has different projects and initiatives which are helping the Older People contribute to their immediate communities in different parts of Nigeria. With the establishment of Centers For Creative Ageing and Research ( CEFCARE) in Lagos and Ogun State. The centers  serve as recreational and developmental base where Older People come together in the community where they are established to advocate for their rights, interact ,exchange ideas, play games and exercise to keep fit and healthy, share life experience with their peers and embark on self help projects that will empower them in the society . The centers are designed to help them fight loneliness and depression through resilient building with several initiatives and self help projects initiated by the centers to encourage older people participation in the development of their communities and stay active. CEFCARE main objective is to create age friendly environment in Nigeria.

Older people in Ilara and Odonoforija in Eredo-Epe Local Council Development Area of Lagos State and Ogeere and its immediate communities in Ogun State Nigeria are uniting with thousands of others worldwide as part of the HelpAge International’s Age Demands Action campaign.
Older men and women are marching, meeting with Ministers of Health and hosting poetry events in their countries to raise awareness of depression and other health issues affecting older people.

“It is important older men and women know that mental health and emotional wellbeing are as important in older age as at any other time of life,” said Kate Wedgwood, Director of 

Network, Advocacy, Communications and Campaigns at HelpAge International.

“Building on the momentum to tackle ageism by campaigners last year, we are encouraging older people to challenge ageism within the health sector too. This is crucial in ensuring increased access to health services for older people, including treatment for depression.” 

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