Elderly homes are beginning to shift from being a taboo to normality in Nigerian society. Nigerians do not exactly have the same perspective, mentality, and mindset that they had in the 1980s. They are beginning to have a change in mentality as the world continues to grow and evolve. This growth and evolution have affected the way they look and feel about Elderly homes.
In the 1980s and some decades before that, Nigerians cared very much for the elderly and held them in high esteem. The elderly were well respected, taken care of, and looked after. The welfare and the rights of the elders were most times considered more important and supreme than that of other age groups. It was unheard of that someone took their aged parents to an elderly home-it was almost an abomination.
Families that took their elderly ones to elderly homes were seen as irresponsible. These families were judged to be taking up much of the white man’s culture and neglecting their duties to the aged. And since Nigerians saw home for the elderly as an abominable thing, there were not many homes for the elderly.
In as much as most Nigerians would rather employ household helps for the elderly living at home, there has been a slight change in the mentality towards elderly homes. Before this present decade and time, it was not even an option, which is quite different from what is obtainable in Europe, the US, Canada, and other developed countries. But now, Nigerians are open to discussions about it and considering it even.
This change in mentality and cultural shift didn’t just happen overnight and on its own. Certain factors and changes over time have caused a rise in elderly homes in Nigeria.
What Factors Are Influencing This Cultural Shift?
Lack of Time
One major factor influencing this cultural shift is lack of time. The younger generation who can take care of the elderly ones has been increasingly engaged with life and career. Society has evolved from the times where only the man goes out to fend for the family, leaving the mother and children home to attend to domestic issues which may include catering for their aged relatives. Everyone is out and about chasing one thing or the other and trying to make ends meet.
This has given room for a rise in the demand for services rendered by elderly homes in Nigeria.
Nigerians are increasingly becoming westernized due to cross-cultural adaptations and the media. This westernization has caused the disintegration of the once closely knit and collectivist extended family system. The media has also been used to promote the advantages of these elderly homes and what they stand to offer.
Taking care of the elderly has always been a virtue and of cultural value. In recent times it has often been overlooked and seen as a basic responsibility that can be outsourced. The western world has made use of elderly homes for decades and Nigeria is slowly becoming a patron.
Rural-urban migration is one of the reasons why many people are embracing the use of elderly people’s homes. Urbanization has created room for elderly homes to thrive. It has created a favorable environment and also an available market where its demands are in high quantity.
Increased Number of Ageing Individuals in Nigeria
There has been an increase in the number of aging individuals in Nigeria. There are over 6 million people out of Nigeria’s 200 million population who are older than the age of 65. This is a tremendous 3% increase from a decade ago.
This increase has put pressure on the people as they have more old people to care for than ever before. Elderly homes have become a solution to this problem and slowly being accepted by Nigerians.
The Desire of the Aged
While this might not be a popular factor, it occurs nonetheless. The decision to move to elderly homes are sometimes made by the elderly themselves.. Some aged people do not like to feel like a burden or strain on their families. They understand the times we in and know the great deal of responsibility the younger generation carry. They would rather stay alone and employ some help, or they would choose an elderly home they would stay in than have their families something more to worry about. This is popular among the literate and aged population.
The Facilities in The Elderly People’s Home
One of the main reasons why Nigerians feel indifferent about the home for the elderly is because they don’t believe the facilities present in these homes are of a standard that can give their aged family members the proper care the need. This bias has recently been changed with the new and standard elderly homes been set up in different parts of Nigeria. This has encouraged more Nigerians to patronize these services.
Elderly homes offer a host of services most individuals maybe not be able to offer these senior citizens. Some of which include
- Reliable and Secure Companionship
Elderly homes offer companionships from both trained care givers and other seniors present in the elderly homes. This does a great deal in the physical and mental growth of its elderly inhabitants.
- Professional Assistance
Elderly homes caregivers are trained professionals that are in a better position to handle senior citizens in taking care of their day-to-day needs and also in times of crisis or critical situations.
- Saves Family members Precious time
In as much as family members love to cater for and spend them with their aged ones. They can’t be there for them at all times. Elderly homes save family members that time to focus on other things while their aged ones are being properly catered for.
The idea of elderly homes has not been accepted by many people yet; some still deem it unnecessary and culturally unacceptable. Nonetheless, they have become very useful in this age and time and is slowly being integrated and accepted by the Nigerian populous.