Founder, Mrs Nimota Raji-Gambari with some of the beneficiaries
By Oluwatope Lawanson
A Nigerian social worker based in Canada, Mrs Nimota Raji-Gambari, has opened a day home for the aged in Akute, near Lagos, to cater for the welfare of the elderly in the area.
The adult day programme – Nimota Care Foundation – caters for health and welfare needs of more than 40 elderly persons with diabetes and high blood pressure, two main illnesses killing the elderly if unattended to.
Speaking during the first anniversary of Nimota care Foundation in Lagos on Tuesday, its Founder, Mrs Nimota Raji-Gambari, said that the home provided daily free meals and multivitamins for healthy lifestyle and well-being of the beneficiaries.
She said the foundation also provided free blood pressure monitoring, free blood sugar checks for diabetes, 30 minutes daily exercise for improved wellbeing as well as interactive games to boost their memory.
According to her, the day programme, tagged ‘Move and Mingle’ enables the elderly persons to move and relate with their peers in a conducive environment.
The Ontario-based social worker said that she established the foundation because as people get older, many aged people become abandoned and suffered depression and anxiety due to loneliness.
She noted that although there was provision for the aged in the Nigerian constitution, there was no care for them.
“I feel this is one of the social problems in Nigeria whereby the elderly are abandoned and not catered for, especially when compared with the way they are being catered for in the advanced countries.
“Nigeria have the resources, we are blessed with several resources but it is not spent on these elderly people that had served the country.
“We also have to be mindful that these elderly individuals have retired and most of them have no income, while some that have pension, payments are not even regular,” she said.
She said the centre, established on Sept. 1, 2021, was registered in Nigeria so that elderly members of the community could benefit from it.
According to her, the home at present has over 40 aged people that are being supported by her staff and relatives.
Accroding to her, presently I want to ensure that the day programme expand because I have a long waiting list of aged people coming to the foundation. S
She hoped to expand the the facility in order to accommodate many intending elderly people on her waiting list.
“I want to ensure that the day programme expand because I have a long waiting list of aged people coming to the foundation.
“The activities had been a smooth sailing for me so far but I want to expand and that is why am reaching out to the public.
“Right now, I am building a mosque, a church and an entertainment building for them.
“In the future, I do plan to open up an old people’s home so they can live there as a group and then when they passed on, the foundation will cater to the burial.
“These are my long term goals, but presently, I want to ensure that the day programme expand because I have a long waiting list of aged people,” she said.
Raji-Gambari said the children and relations of the aged could also support this foundation if they want their parents to become part of it.
Raji-Gambari said the foundation was in need of financial and moral supports to enable it accommodate more elderly people into the foundation.
She then solicited moral and financial assistance from government, corporate bodies and individual philanthropists to accommodate and care for more elderly people in the country.
One of the beneficiaries, Elder Akanni Adelulola expressed profound gratitude to the founder for the benefits and care derived.
Adelulola appreciated her for the health care benefits which includes regular blood pressure, blood sugar check-ups, adequate medication, free physiotherapy and daily free physical check up.
He said: “We also get free daily lunch and there is a conducive forum for the elders to rub minds together.”
Another beneficiary, Mrs Silifat Olubiyi, urged government to be more sensitive to the plight of the elderly, create more aged homes and make health care 100 per cent free for them.
Also, Alhaji Abdulrafiu Akorede commended Nimota Care Foundation for the efforts in taking care of the old while calling on other well-meaning Nigerians to emulate the kind gesture and show compassion to the aged noting that sooner the young would definitely become old.
In the last one month, there have been reports of some aged people who died in isolation out of neglect.
A sick sexagenarian, Rose Akpan, reportedly died in her lonely apartment in Bariga Lagos on Sunday, while the skeleton of one John Aderemi was found in his Ibadan home earlier this month.
He was last seen by neigbours in 2018.