In a meeting held two weeks ago in Windsor, I shared the goals of ‘Elders Helping Hands’ with members of Igbozue Connecticut USA.
Members of Igbozue are my closest kinsmen abroad, and I needed their moral and financial support.
They were courteous as I stressed the urgency and necessities of the services we provide, which at the moment are to assist elders in Akokwa, a village in Eastern Nigeria, to live out their lives with respect and dignity.
Helping elderly men and women with dish-washing, bathroom trips, walking, cooking, cleaning, maintaining a safe environment, companionship and much more are some of the tasks our staff do.
Clement Ezete, a member of Igbozue who is also a board member of Elders Helping Hands, added some details to the presentation.
Unlike in developed countries where struggling seniors can go, even if for a short period, to a purpose-built center for care and comfort, no such facilities or privileges exist in Nigerian villages.
We look forward to a time when our services spread to all communities in the Imo state of Nigeria.
A dream come true would be building an elder recreation center in the Imo State of Nigeria, where seniors can meet peers, dance to music, engage in gardening and crafts, and bequeath their wisdom and stories to posterity.
Our message was well-received. Comments, questions, and individual experiences emerged afterward. Contemplation filled many hearts. Moral solidarity was in abundance, and the applause was enthralling. Many pledged financial support.
“What Elders Helping Hands is doing is praiseworthy,” everybody at the meeting agreed. The problems facing old people in the villages are enormous. There are no faucets to turn on water and no switches to flick on light bulbs.
“But why shouldn’t family members care for their elderly?” one person asked.
Relatives should and do care for seniors in many cases, but quickly the care becomes sloppy, overlooked and overwhelming. Elders Helping Hands intend to provide, through our services, the dignity and the care our elders need.
In a society where there is no electricity and manual labor is a way of life, the absence of a capable family member exposes the elderly person to falls and frustrations.
Gone are the days when children were a reliable asset to take care of an elderly parent. We cannot be a society that has forgotten our elders in a fast-changing world.
Kind words, bear hugs and warm handshakes from Igbozue members boosted my drive to continue standing up for our elders everywhere and more so in my home village.
Founded in 2001, Igbozue Connecticut USA caters to the social-cultural needs of all Igbos, especially those living in the state of Connecticut. Polycarp Okeke is the current President, and Professor Austin Okwu is the patron.
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