Let’s recognize the contributions of older persons and support them

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National Commission on Culture (NCC)
National Commission on Culture (NCC)

Madam Janet Edna Nyame, Executive Director, National Commission on Culture (NCC) has urged Ghanaians to recognize the role and contributions of older persons in society.

She said “As we advocate special attention to be devoted to the vulnerabilities of aged persons, we must recognize the role and contributions of these people in our society and give them the needed support.”

Madam Nyame made the call at a ceremony organised by the Los Abuelos Foundation (LAF) in Collaboration with the NCC to commemorate this year’s United Nations International Day of Older Persons, in Accra.

The event on the theme, “Digital equalities for all ages”, was to honour older persons for their significant contribution to society, and to award winners of the teens essay competition dubbed “My GrannyPa Challenge”.

She said unfortunately the old moral values of Ghanaians were slowly giving way to foreign cultures, indicating that although culture was dynamic and never static, the old Ghanaian cultural values need to be cherished, maintained and protected.

“As a country, we have our own unique culture, traditions and values that need to be adhered to,” she said.
She said there was the need for access and meaningful participation in the digital world by older persons, adding that reports by the International Telecommunications Union said women and older persons experienced digital inequity to a greater extent than other groups in society.

“As a country, we need to explore the role of policies and legal frameworks to ensure privacy and safety of older persons in the digital space,” she said.

Madam Nyame said the ageing population globally was naturally confronted with several challenges such as health, social exclusion and abuse in some cases.

She said with that enough provisions must be made for them in the areas of transportation, health, access to social amenities to improve their living conditions.

The Executive Director said “we owe it as a duty to ourselves and generations unborn to create a system where one will not dread becoming an old person but rather see it as a blessing as the good Book says.”

She said the Commission as part of its responsibilities made contributions and given support to any kind focusing on upholding and uplifting the Ghanaian culture and heritage, and as well projecting the rich values and traditions of Ghana.

Madam Nyame congratulated the winners of the essay competition and urged them to become ambassadors in advocating against all forms of maltreatment, abuse and disrespect towards older persons.

Mr Felix Local, Director Projects Coordination, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection said the current generation had the responsibility to honour and guarantee better living conditions for older persons.

He said as a country it was important to recognise that society was built on the effort and toil of preceding generations some of whom were older persons and greater effort must be made to provide them with efficient health care services and a conducive living environment.

He said “The goal of the National Ageing Policy is to achieve the overall social, economic and cultural re-integration of older persons into mainstream society, to enable them as far as practicable to participate fully in the national development process.”

Mr. Joe Quist, Acting National Vice Chairman, Ghana Government Pensioners’ Association said some of the challenges the older persons faced included; little care from the extended family, delay in receiving retirement benefit and access to special health care facility.

He urged the authorities to make retirement benefit ready for collection within a week after retirement, decentralize the processes of working out retirement, and establish homes for the aged.

“Government must also make a conscious effort to enhance the quantum of salaries of Ghanaians for them to receive handsome pension payment,” he added.

Mrs Eunice Abban Afari, Executive Director, LAF said the Foundation promoted the rights and welfare of older persons through humanitarian interventions, advocacy, research and strategic programmes.

She said their aim was to re-echo the socio-cultural values in showing respect, love and appreciation to older persons for the impact they make on individual lives and the society, and also to advocate against all forms of abuse and maltreatment against older persons.

Ms Tabiri Henewaa Kiki, of Presby Junior High School, (JHS), Nii Boi Town, came first in the essay competition followed by Ms Estherlyn Baaba Mason, of Pepertual Help JHS, New Achimota, and Ms Josephine Okyere of Pentecostal School, Nii Boi Town, placed third.

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