Today is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day and this year’s theme is combatting “elder abuse”
Ruona J. Meyer was the one who actually brought it to my consciousness when she wrote about possible ways to pitch it. I did also pitch it but the time is too short, so, I ll do something more elaborate next year. Indeed it’s a topic with global relevance
But I use the liberty then to write about my maternal grandmother, Mary Ucheboh here pictured. She’s 104😊
The last time I was home, December 2022, she asked me to take that picture with her so that I will have memories to keep when she returns Home. I thought that was powerful!
I have interviewed her severally on different topics including a documentary I did called “Ajadu” detailing the experiences of widows in Igboland.
I am currently documenting her and it is such a privilege to come very close to a senior citizen. Thankfully, she still got her memory intact save for the fact that she can now only hear with one ear and has lost most of her teeth. (I think just 2 left😊)
One of the things that strikes me everytime we speak is how she says “everyone is looking after me here. I am only waiting for my turn. I need to go home. My mates are all gone. But I have told Chukwu, I will return peacefully. I won’t stress any of you”.
It always leaves me with mixed feelings. She says it all the time. She is ready to go. We know.
While I am grateful for the life she is still living and enjoying the benefits of old age and being surrounded by love, I am aware not many senior citizens share same. Elder abuse is real and happens in many forms
“Elder abuse is a problem that exists in both developing and developed countries yet is typically underreported globally. Prevalence rates or estimates exist only in selected developed countries — ranging from 1% to 10%. Although the extent of elder mistreatment is unknown, its social and moral significance is obvious. As such, it demands a global multifaceted response, one which focuses on protecting the rights of older persons”-UN
So today, I celebrate my grandmother whom I dearly love, who calls me “Ukaa nwam”(Ukaa, my child)🥰 and challenge each person in their corners to look out for/ and look after senior citizens carefully, respectfully and lovingly