THE ROLE OF ELDERS IN THE PROMOTION OF HEALTHY LIVING OF THE FAMILY
The study assessed the role of elders in the promotion of the family in Ojo Local Government Area of Lagos State. The discipline research method was used in totalcarrying out the study. The population for the study were elderly who are within the age bracjket of 65 years and above (male and female) in Ojo local Government Area of Lagos Sate which constitute atotal number 2,268. The sampling techniques used were purpositive, simple random sampling echnique. Data collection was done with a 30 item validated quesrtionaire. Disccriptive survey method was used for the study. Statistic of ;percentages, frequency table, mean standard deviaeion and person product movement correlation. The result shows that the elderly have an excellent knowledge about their role and he position the hold in promoting healthy living in the family. They also realised that they need a high level of suppor from both family socially and government for them to be relevant in their disposition in promoting healthy living in the family. Inconclusion, here is need for social workers to grow becausehey will support the elders their families and careworkers for the frail and disabled elderly in the community for them to perform their roles.
1.0 Background of the Study
The world is in the midst of a unique and irreversible process of demographic transition that will result in older population everywhere. As fertility rates decline, there is increase in life expectancy of the old. The number of persons aged 60 years and older in 1999 was nearly 600,000 worldwide (United nations, 1999). The organization went further that the proportion of persons aged 60 and over is expected to double between 2007 and 2050 and their actual number will more than triple, reaching 2 billion by 2050. This is due to prevention or elimination of causes of death in early life, resulted in a population constituting an increasing proportion of elderly people.
In most countries, the number of those over 80 is likely to quadruple (four times) to nearly 400 million by then. (United Nations,1999). By 2050, the population of the older people will be larger than the population of children for the first time in history (Government Actuary’s Department, 2013). Older persons are increasingly seen as contributors to development, whose abilities to act for the betterment of themselves and their societies should be woven into policies and programmes at all levels. Currently, 64 percent of all older person live in the less developed regions a number expected to approach 80 percent by 2050 (United nations, 2007).
Udoh (2000). asserted that the problem of ageing and elderly as an increasing social problem in Nigeria, has only been talked about glibly in the mass media and when attempts have been made to address the socio-economic problems of these citizens, it has only largely been a matter of benevolent intentions, rather than concertizing these intentions with definite programmes for the elderly by the social system.
Udoh (2000), further submits that the programme for the care of the elderly, often limited to the urban areas is left with voluntary humanitarian organizations with no regular means of funding. Unless the populace understand the problem and needs of the elderly, they are not likely to get the care they need. This will always result into friction and disharmony and as well affect healthy living and interpersonal relationship within the family.
According to Nnamani, (2004), care of older relatives is a value which is culturally rooted and highly respected, but there is an observable progressive shift in function away from the traditional family, due to economic problems, migration and influenceby foreign culture, The Nigeria government and political leaders believe that the provision of care is the responsibility of families. Policy emphasis is more on young people, women and children. Onyeoma, (2003).
Nnamani ,(2004), confirmed that the contribution of pension scheme (insurance) that has been reformed does not cover many older persons, and is mainly designed for those who work(ed) in the former sector, is yet to make appropriate impact on the lives of older people. On the issue of elders abuse and neglect, Okon, (2007) stressed that there is yet no law on elders abuse. Creation of awareness of abuse as a public health and social issue has been intensified since the first World Elders Abuse Awareness Day took place in most major cities in Nigeria in 2006.
The various anomalies associated to care of the elderly are deterent to the roles expected of them in the promotion of healthy living both in the family, community and the society as a whole. On this note, Magnus, (2009) submitted that Nigerians depend on their children at old age for wellbeing; care for the elderly has not been of priority to successive government in Nigeria; no government policy or legislation in place with which government can provide for the aged; pensioners find it difficult to receive their pension regularly; many parents live from hand to mouth, and mouth-end to mouth-end; many elderly men and women lack familial support system, suffer abuse, These affect the elders natural and residual roles in the promotion of healthy living within the family or wherever they arc domiciled.
1.1 Statement of the Problem
The health or older adults is influenced by many factors. One of the least understood is the role of that social support and personal relationship in health and ageing. Welfare and social policy as a major part of welfare provision for the elderly are poorly institutionalized. This makes life miserable and unpalatable for the well being of older community dwellers. Okunola, (2002). Based on this, the study is designed to look particularly into social and intimate relationship in promoting healthy family living.
1.2 Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this study was to ascertain and determine the role of elders in the promotion of healthy living of the family.
1.3 Research Questions
The following research questions will be answered in this study.
i. Will ageing affect healthy living of the family?
ii. Will social support towards the elderly affect healthy living of the family?
iii. Will personal relationship towards the elderly affect healthy living of the family? .
iv. Will the elderly have roles to play in sustaining a healthy living of the family?
v. Will state of health affect the elderly in the promotion of healthy living of the family?
vi. Will the roles of government in provision of social amenities for the elderly affect healthy living of the family?
1.4 Research Hypotheses
i. Ageing will not significantly affect the healthy living of the family.
ii. Social support towards the elderly will not significantly affect the healthy living of the family.
iii. Personal relationship towards the elderly will not significantly affect the healthy living of the family.
iv. The elderly will not significantly have roles to play in sustaining healthy living of the family.
v. State of health will not significantly affect the elderly in the promotion of healthy living of the family.
vi. Emphasis in the roles of government in provision of social amenities for the elderly will not significantly promote healthy living of the family.
1.5 Significance of the Study
The findings of this study will:
Reveal that the elderly have unique roles to play in the promotion of healthy living of the family. Equip health, social and service providers with the methods and new approaches to facilitate full participation of elderly in the promotion of healthy living of the family. It will encourage good information, communication and education habits for the success of elderly involvement in the healthy living of the family. Serve as added literature to the field of research in ageing, administration and management.
1.6 Delimitation of the Study
i. This study was delimited to all elders within the age bracket of 65 years and above.
ii. The study was also delimited to Ojo Local Government Area of Lagos state.
iii. A self developed and validated questionnaire was used as research tool.
iv. The descriptive statistics of percentages and frequency tables were used.
v. The mean, standard deviation and Pearson Product Moment Correlation were used to test the hypotheses at 5% level of significance.
vi. The purposive and simple random sampling technique were adopted.
vii. Four trained research assistants were used during the study.
1.7 Limitation of the Study
The researcher foresaw possible inclusion or illiterates among the individuals. The researcher made use of research assistants who were ready to read, interprete and wrote for such individuals.
1.8 Operational Definition of Terms
Ageing: The process of growing old, especially of acquiring the physical and mental characteristics of old age.
Elders Abuse: Any intentional or negligent action that harms or creates the risk of harm to a vulnerable older adult.
Illiterate: Someone who is not able to read or write.
Pension Scheme: An arrangement by which an employer provides the employee with pension and other retirement benefits.
Senile: Mental weakness due to old age.
Sterile: Barren, unfruitful and not producing.
Healthy living: Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and introducing habits that improve health.
Population: People of a certain class and for in a specified area.
Individuals: Specific people, distinct from others.
Gerontology: The science dealing with old age, the ageing process and the problems special to old people.
Ageism: Discrimination on grounds of age or-unfair treatment of the elderly.
Social security: Provision of the state for the unemployed, aged or the sick through a system of pension or benefits.
Dependant: A person who depends upon another for support or favour.
Elderly: Old people who have past middle age and approaching the later stages of life.
Fertility: Ability to give birth to young ones.