This Seed Will Bear No Fruit: Older People's Perception About Old People's Home in Selected Local Government Areas in Osun State of South-Western Nigeria

This Seed Will Bear No Fruit: Older People's Perception About Old People's Home in Selected Local Government Areas in Osun State of South-Western Nigeria

Friday A. Eboiyehi
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 22
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9531-1.ch019
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The continuous increase in the number of older people and the gradual erosion of the extended family system which used to cater to them are alarming. While older people in much of the developed countries have embraced old people's homes as an alternative, the same cannot be said of older people in Nigeria who still believed that it is the duty of the family to accommodate them. The chapter examined the perception of older people about living in old people's home in some selected local government areas in Osun State, Nigeria. The study showed that their perception about living in old people's home was poor as many of them still held on to the belief that it was the responsibility of their family members to house them as it was done in the olden days. Although a few of the interviewees (particularly those who are exposed to what is obtained in the Western world and those with some level of education) had accepted the idea, many preferred to live with their family rather than being dumped in “an isolated environment,” where they would not have access to their family members. Pragmatic policy options aimed at addressing this emerging social problem were highlighted.
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Populations around the world are ageing speedily. In the developing countries, the tempo of ageing is more rapid than in the developed regions of the world (United Nations 1998; United Nations Population Funds, (UNFPA) and HelpAge International (HAI), 2012; United Nations, 2017). In sub-Saharan Africa, the number of older people was 46 million in 2016 (WHO, 2017). This number is expected to be more than triple by 2050 (ibid). Nigeria is currently placed first as having the highest number of older people in sub-Saharan Africa (Togonu-Bickersteth, 1997; 2014). Data from the Federal Office of Statistics (FOS, 1992) suggest that the population of older people has recorded a steady growth in the absolute and relative numbers since 1963. The survey by National Population Commission (NPC) [Nigeria] and ORC Macro, (2004) further reveal an increase in the proportion of older people from less than 4 percent of Nigeria’s total population of 55.7 million (about 2.2 million) in 1963 (Eboiyehi, 2008). Based on this rapid increase, it is estimated that the absolute number of older people in Nigeria would rise from 7.8 million in 1999 to 17.6 million by 2025. This figure is expected to double by the year 2050 (United Nations, 2001). Undoubtedly, this population figure is more than the total population of some African countries like Togo, Mauritius, Sao Tome, among others (Eboiyehi, 2008; Eboiyehi & Onwuzuruigbo, 2014). The United Nations (1985) and World Bank (1990) also projected that among the world’s countries with over 15 million members of the population aged 60 years or older, Nigeria would move from its twenty-seventh position in 1950 to eleventh position in the year 2025. The implication of this is that there will be a significant number of older people that will require a long-term care at some point in their lives (WHO, 2017).

Traditionally, African communities had well-articulated caring structures that preserved the quality of life for older people (Apt, 1996). In most of these communities, the primary responsibility of providing care and support for older people lies with the family. As health and socio-economic conditions of older people deteriorate with advancing age, family members through collective efforts cater to their needs. This responsibility is supplemented in many cases by other informal mechanisms, such as kinship networks, friends and mutual aid societies (Aboderin, 2004). Thus, the function of what is known today as social welfare and social services was exercised by the family network in the traditional African society. In this respect, older people got the best available food, drinks, clothes and shelter.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Caregiver: This term refers to any person who provides care to the aged (i.e., someone who stays at home to look after the aged and assists him or her physically, economically, socially, morally, or emotionally). The caregivers in this study include children of the elderly or older person, their spouses, members of their extended family, friends, and members of the social group (for instance, church, various associations, or social groups) to which they belong.

Care and Support Systems: In this study, care, and support system imply a set of mechanisms put in place in which informal care and support are provided for the aged.

Old People’s Home: This is sometimes called a retirement home or old age home where older people live and are cared for. It is a multi-residence housing facility intended for senior citizens. Facilities such meals, gatherings, recreation activities, and some form of health or hospice care are provided within the building for older people. It may be paid for on a rental basis or voluntarily given out by the government.

Perception: This is the way older people see or understand old people’s home.

Clarification of Concepts: The following concepts are defined within the context of the research problem.

Emotional Support: This consists of assistance received by older person such as confiding, comforting, reassuring, listening to problems, in essence “being there” to listen to the problems and anxieties of the aged or older people.

Informal Care Giving: This is the care provided by network of family and friends. In this study, informal care giving is defined as unpaid care that is provided to a person aged 60 years or older who requires assistance with daily living activities. These activities fall into one of the three broad categories. These categories are emotional support, direct service assistance and financial assistance.

Older People: For the purpose of this study, the term “older people” is used as a statistical artefact to refer specifically to those men and women aged 60 years or older. In this study, the concepts “elderly,” “aged,” “ageing persons,” and the “older persons” are used synonymously.

Informal Support: This includes receiving advice when necessary, for instance, in seeking medical treatment, referrals to agencies, and sharing family news.

Care: Care as used here, implies the provision of physical, psychological, social, and material assistance to an older person where such an older person is unable to provide for himself or herself. It includes the service aimed at promoting the quality of life and general well-being of the older person.

Financial and Housing Support: This includes housing repairs, building house for older person, sending remittances, paying medical and electricity bills, sending money for feeding and farming.

Family: When the concept “family” is used in this study, it includes members of a household, or extended family members who are related to the older person by blood, marriage or adoption. Thus, a family as used here includes husband, wife, children, parents, grandparents, grandchildren, great grand children, and in-laws.

Instrumental Support: This includes all tangible forms of help received by the aged or older person such as housework, cooking, running errands, transportation, shopping, and personal care.

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