FG asked to introduce free meal for elderly

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The federal government has been asked to evolve a system of giving out free meals to the elderly people from 60 years old.

Speaking at the launching of the Senior Club in Abuja, a dietician, Mrs Jane Paul-Eden said the federal government should step up the feeding arrangement for the vulnerable in the society by adding free meal to the aged.

The Senior Club, is an association formed by a non-government organisation (NGO), Axios Senior Citizens Foundation (ASCF), for people aged 60 and above to assist them make new friends, to support them, make communities aware of their value, encourage them to stay active through a regime of physical fitness exercises, to encourage healthy eating and lifestyle, among others.

Paul-Eden who lamented that many people above 60 years had health challenges that limited their nutritional intake, said it would not be out of place for the government especially the federal government to assist them in getting the needed nutrients.

She said: “It is very important for government to assist the elderly with food to allow them get the kind of diets they need. But in this country, it is always difficult to get whatever the government chose for them, the system would not let it get to the end user.

“The government has to look at the vulnerable group and after the children have been targeted with the school feeding programme, the elderly should be targeted too. Many of them have worked and retired and may not be able to afford buying the needed diet. The federal government should consider giving free food to the elderly”

She added that: “At age 60 and above the diet needs to be taken seriously and the elderly needs to be cautious of what they eat so that it won’t affect them badly. For most of the elderly are having one ailment or the other like hypertension and diabetes and these ailments require special diet. Their diets need to be balanced and carefully selected to suit their need. “

Paul-Edeh said: ‘We need to do more of advocacy to drive the message home. We need to educate people well on what to eat.“

Speaking on the programme, the Administrative Secretary of Axios Senior Citizens Foundation, Abdulraqib Jegede disclosed the Foundation was established to ease challenges encountered by the elderly and geriatric seniors.

He said: “We are committed to building a vibrant community of senior citizens and changing people’s perception on aging which is usually wrongly linked to retirement, pension-collection and withdrawal from society.”

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