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Atoke’s Monday Morning: Who Will Take Care of Papa?




A few months ago, I met a Hispanic woman in her late 60s with early onset dementia. Care for her husband had been taken over by the Adult Protective Service; but since she was ineligible based on technicalities, she had to take care of herself. So, she was unable to drive to the store for groceries, unable to get to the bank for cash… essentially unable to do anything. Living in Houston without a car to drive requires a higher level of grace The woman was also on the verge of losing her house: she hadn’t made payments in over 11 months and the bank was going to repossess. It was a dire situation and I was filled with trepidation for her.

“Where are her family members?”
That was my default Nigerian response to the idea of an elderly person who is helpless and alone.

Family association is an essential element of our existence as Nigerians. In fact, one of the wide spread reasons for starting a family is for the purpose of care in old age. As one of my friends put it, “The default retirement plan for the average Nigerian is to have children.” It is believed that in order to not end up like the woman I described, they have to insure themselves by having children who will take care of them in their old age. “If I have 5 children, at least 1 of them will let me live with them when I’m old.”


I wonder if proponents of this position have considered the possibility that none of the children will offer to take up this role. I wonder why more people haven’t consider the role of assisted living facilities for old people. So, I decided to research why the option of a retirement home was not more readily available.

Putting our old people in a home is just not our thing.

Atoke CheeriosThe reason for this is pretty simple: we do not have the requisite socio-cultural infrastructure in place for assisted living for old-age pensioners. It is for this reason that we defer to the position that when we’re old and frail, someone will take care of us. This has also gone on to foster the social stigma that surrounds what would ordinarily be a common-sense decision to admit oneself into a home.

In a news report by Leadership Newspaper: Dr. Anthony Abimeku Magaji, 87 said the idea of old peoples home is alien to Nigeria. “I will never accept my children taking me into an old peoples’ home. Rather, I will stay and die in my house like my father and grandfather did because our culture demands that we stay in our homes no matter the condition,
I really believe that culture is dynamic, and one of the most limiting factors of our growth and development as people is the rigidity of our mind set.

Is the thought of a care home really that abhorrent? For the purpose of this article, I ran a search on the old people’s homes, or care facilities for the elderly and I found an interesting thread on a Nigerian web board, Nigerian Village Square. The person who posted the thread said he was away at the North Pole and wanted to find someone to care for his 76 year old mother. Here are a couple of responses people gave (I’ll paste the relevant bits)

I am not sure there are any “elder care homes” or “sheltered homes” or Nursing homes in Lagos However with all the unemployment in Nigeria, AV why not just hire people who can stay with your parents 24 /7 or take shifts. Hire Carers. Before this relative goes off to Univeristy get the person to look for people in the village, or around who will take care of your parents like their own and you just pay them.
In Nigeria there is always people looking for work, You will be helping someone else by giving them a job, you also will have rest of mind knowing your parents are being taken care of.”[sic]

I spent the entire night reading up on care homes in Nigeria; and I was surprised to see that there are quite a number. Of course not all of them had updated websites, but it was good to see that they actually exist(ed). The costs range from 30,000 to 75,000 Naira per month for boarding. If there’s no relative to take care of your grandma, you can always consider an alternative.

The point about finding a relative to take care of one’s beloved aging parent is not without its ills. These relatives sometimes end up using your love for your old parents as a tool for siphoning money. You’ll find yourself in a situation where they keep calling you to say, ‘Baba fell down the stairs and needs to be taken to the hospital. Bring 200,000 Naira’

In a month, Baba would have fallen down enough to deplete your account of 1million Naira. The financial strain and drain will almost have you wishing one of those falls will take Baba to the Pearly Gates.

U might have to wait till i set up one. U’ve just given me a very good business idea

The old people’s home available at Yaba opposite Queens is not where u’ll want to take ur parents to.”[sic]

Yup! There’s always someone thinking of a quick money scheme. But that’s not the most interesting part of this person’s comment. The bit about the old people’s home in Yaba being in such a deplorable state that one would rather not take one’s parents there just made me sad. Why don’t we have a culture of maintenance and why do we not uphold the right to human dignity!?

What are you doing in the North Pole! Surely you are not there for the rest of your life?! You are needed by your aged parents, take some time off, return to Lagos choose a reliable short term live in carer and make rapid plans to relocate your work to Lagos so you can assist in their care and spend the last few years with them. You will be blessed.”

There’s always someone who believes there’s nothing that should supersede taking care of your parents. Yup… even if it means putting your life on hold. After all, your parents sacrificed so much for you. I usually counter that argument with: the parent CHOSE to have children. The child didn’t have a say in the decision. Why should kids be emotionally blackmailed into taking care of them?

In a care facility, old people get to mingle with people of their age group. They have common interests and will have dedicated staff taking care of them. This, to me, beats having Grandma sit at home in your flat on the 15th floor – doing nothing but watching African Magic from when you leave for work till you get back.

I believe that every individual should make provision for their old age and a time when they’re too sick to take care of themselves. I don’t think people should be ‘guilted’ into looking after their parents or grandparents. Anything done more out of obligation than love seems rather empty. The thought that I’ll live to 90 and then be a nuisance to my children fills me with dread!

Have a a beautiful week ahead. Remember, work hard while you’re young and strong… so that nobody is calling around to find where to ‘dump’ you when you’re 86! Be kind… because the chances of ‘That wicked Baba’ being pushed down the stairs are very high.

Live. Love. Laugh.


Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Michael Zhang

You probably wanna read a fancy bio? But first things first! Atoke published a book titled, +234 - An Awkward Guide to Being Nigerian. It's available on Amazon. ;)  Also available at Roving Heights bookstore. Okay, let's go on to the bio: With a Masters degree in Creative Writing from Swansea University, Atoke hopes to be known as more than just a retired foodie and a FitFam adherent. She can be reached for speechwriting, copywriting, letter writing, script writing, ghost writing  and book reviews by email – [email protected]. She tweets with the handle @atoke_ | Check out her Instagram page @atoke_ and visit her website for more information.



    July 20, 2015 at 11:18 am

    Very interesting post Toke, and good writing too. There’s so much I’d like to say but I foresee a lengthened epistle so I’ll just move ahead and lament about the poor maintenance culture in Nigeria. It’s everywhere, it’s in everything you see. From government owned properties, to privately owned businesses. BRT buses are decrepit and run down, hotels opened barely three years ago look like they were opened in the 80s… I’m just so irked right now! A few minutes ago I finally decided to conduct an availability search online, I’ve heard CAC has an online portal to conduct searches and register businesses/companies. It’s a public holiday and CAC is closed today. So I thought, let me even try this fabled online service. As I’ve feared all these months, it’s rubbish! The pages wouldn’t load or open. WTF is wrong with this country? CAC makes several millions in one week and they cannot keep a functional website running? It’s total hogwash. Wake up Nigeria!

    • Atoke


      July 20, 2015 at 11:49 am

      Thanks a lot.

      Oh and my friends say I should be clarifying when my name is misspelt. It’s Atoke… not Toke.


    • Quteey

      July 20, 2015 at 12:35 pm

      Probably she was just writting it in short form and its not a major mispell


      July 20, 2015 at 12:47 pm

      I’m sorry, i know too well that your name is Atoke, I was just so impassioned by the post that I got carried away. Lol.

    • randommer

      July 20, 2015 at 2:22 pm

      at Quteey – I think Atoke and Toke mean different things hence the correction.

    • larz

      July 20, 2015 at 2:23 pm

      Thank you!

      In naija, we like to build and not maintain/ repair. You know the saying that if it aint broken, dont fix it? In naija it is if it aint run down, dont fix it

  2. ocean beauty

    July 20, 2015 at 11:22 am

    Hahahahaha @ Baba fell down the stairs.
    Some of these great/grand parents, simply put do not want to leave their homes. My great grandmother was begged to go and live in the city with her daughter. She refused. “Who would feed her goats?” “Her vegetable farm will suffer”. There was no excuse she didn’t give. Even visits of one week turns to her lamenting.
    They will ask you what you want them to do in your house, as if there is anything serious they do in their own homes.
    Just call them each day or every other day if possible or pay someone to live with them.

  3. Olayemi

    July 20, 2015 at 11:23 am

    This is one very interesting topic that has destroyed families. My son will take care of me in future, he will pay his brother’s school fees, he will complete the house his father left behind…… the list goes on. How about having a plan that can autorun in your old age and not burden your children? But no, our aged people think it’s ok. That’s how my an in-law came into the house and went on and on about how someone’s son just bought a car for his mother and hence, they are looking forward to hubby’s own. To each is own abeg. My parents are in their late 60s and have a plan that doesn’t bother us to drop even a pin. All they need is to hug their grandchildren whenever they have time. Period!

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      July 20, 2015 at 2:57 pm

      When I was leaving Nigeria in January and while we were spending a little time together before my flight got called, my mother straight out of the blue told me that she’s already prepared for her retirement and has invested enough to ensure that she won’t be a liability to any of her kids.

      I wasn’t expecting to have that conversation but I know she’s always been a very resourceful woman and taken great pride in being able to do things for herself. My unquantifiable love for her means that regardless of what she says, I’ll be chooking my eye and pocket in her mata until the end but it was still very impressive to hear that and it’s increased my respect for the babe.

      For as long as they’re together, I know that my parents have each other and their investments but if the time ever comes where The Lord decides one of them will go, it’s not a question at all about what happens next. I’m taking the other one into my own home or at the very most, all of us siblings are going to come together and talk about who’s going to be responsible for our parent. As much as I support the progressive idea of providing assisted living environments for elderly people in Nigeria, my parents won’t be going on that list unless it comes down to a medical need (Alzheimer’s, etc.) which requires the necessary external support.

    • TA

      July 20, 2015 at 5:21 pm

      ‘s SA, me and you both o. My parent isn’t going into any care facility. I will care for her till my last breath. Thankfully,my siblings feel the same way,so it won’t be only me caring for her. I personally think such facilities should be for elderly ones who do not have kids or close relatives to care for them.

    • Q

      July 20, 2015 at 9:08 pm

      Respect to you. That is a nice one. Atoke, omo naija ni e, dont get lost in a foreign land and start thinking their ways is the best. Parents sacrifice alot for their kids, more than they will let you know. How can i ever be grateful enough to them? I reciprocate by making their old age easy for them. They might have the money, but they are old, and might not even know how to spend this money, i will make sure I monitor how it is applied. No matter how progressive I am, no matter where I find myself in the future, while for Convenience, I might not bring them to stay with me in the house, I will get them to stay close to me and provide staff that will cater for their needs. Foster home in nigeria when we still can’t get the normal infrastructure working properly. And yes, we all give our children the best so when we can’t be up and doing, they will reciprocate the gesture to us.

    • rose

      July 20, 2015 at 9:43 pm

      @Socially Awkward

      Hun you made a very valid point about your mother having already planned her ‘older age’ i.e when you can’t no longer work long hours for pay. You got me thinking. Maybe these are the discussions we need to forge with our parents now. In the midst of by force school fees and million naira weddings, have they put money aside for retirement. Many of them my mum included would sell her properties for any of my siblings to have her dream wedding. But if we discuss retirement she would say ‘God will take care of that’ HMMM you really got me thinking..maybe my siblings and I should open up a separate bank account and all of us start contributing equally money into that account for our parents. Either way one of them will surely die before the other and we need to make sure whoever is left we can look after them easily. God Bless

    • Que

      July 21, 2015 at 12:13 pm

      Your response touched me, mostly cos I was wondering how to type my response till I saw you had said it all quite well….. my mum is an independent widow…..she has done and gone above and beyond what any mum should….. I CANNOT bear the thought of pushing her into any home in the absense of it being a matter of medical necessity….. her personality that I know….I just cant!….I dont need that kind of convenience! Its not a matter of obligation for me, its not even a social issue…..i love n respect her too much to not give everything i can for her well being…it’s also a matter of preserving the dignity with which she has lived out her life…..! My life will have to make room…. I dont even worry about my siblings helping out or not, but if I were to bet, I bet they wouldnt blink either! Even if they cant all take her in, they will step up in ways that count….that I Know!

  4. Thor Odinson

    July 20, 2015 at 11:25 am

    I was discussing this yesterday with my mum.
    And one core difference in Naija and say the UK is the idea about who owes whom what.
    In the UK if you brought children into the world then you owe them a debt to raise them and they really don’t owe you anything.
    Anything they do is a bonus back not an entitlement.

    In naija it is not so, the idea is that the child owes his parents se payback for their care.

    I personally believe it is nice to provide for your parents.
    BUT it is not an obligation.

    They way I test myself is this:
    If I had £1 left and my parents were starving and my son was starving, who would I feed?

    I would not hesitate, it would be my child.
    So I believe a person owes more to the child than to the parent.
    But one should do what one can for the parents especially if they did their best for you.

    Sorry for the ramble

  5. hauwa

    July 20, 2015 at 11:31 am

    Lol. I cannot laff abeg. But ds is real issue. The old mama in d area has abt a hundred grandkids/great grandkids. Yet she lives alone at over 90. Heard she was very very unkind in her youth. The kids send money n provided a house but nobody wants to physically care for her. Sad.

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      July 20, 2015 at 2:59 pm

      For real, I have an Aunt who’s currently facing the same issues with her kids. They just won’t give her the time of day but can send monetary resources if she needs it. Very sad situation but I know my aunt and I know how her very critical, very demanding nature might have alienated her sons. She’s currently spending a long period of time down in London and sounds so lonely that I’m feeling bad enough to try and see if I can make time to pay her a visit…

  6. OT

    July 20, 2015 at 11:33 am

    Atoke ,seems our thoughts have been travelling along the same path. I’d first like to debunk the rumors about the old peoples home at Yaba.
    As far as I know its not a world class standard home neither is it in a deplorable state , i know this because an NGO i work with paid them a visit a while back and the environment is okay and the old people present looked clean ,well fed and taken care of. We were not allowed past the visiting room and were also warned not to take pics of them,its not bad at all considering it is state owned and run.
    It beats me that we Africans/Nigerians in our typical manner would wave off the option of putting our aged ones in such homes, when our lives obviously do not make room for us to personally care for them. Like someone said it will create more job opportunity and would be a better option to the extortionist relatives

  7. Vics

    July 20, 2015 at 11:50 am

    Thanks for this Atoke, true words. One of my dreams is actually to have an old people’s home in Nigeria, Lord help me.

    • Vics

      July 20, 2015 at 11:51 am

      We also need to give more considerations to the elderly in d society in general like shopping discounts etc

  8. MEE

    July 20, 2015 at 12:10 pm

    What can I say…Society is changing, we all need to accept that. Old age is something that will haunt everyone. I think having care homes for the elderly is a good idea. Looking at my family while growing up shows that this issue of grandparents living in a house is not a good idea, at all……at least in my case. God willing, when I have the money, I will like to provide services like this. Plus it wouldn’t be a bad idea to bring a lot of old people into one big space and let them watch Africa Magic 🙂

    • Tincan

      July 20, 2015 at 12:42 pm

      I don’t know why but the African Magic bit just made my heart smile…

  9. bn lover

    July 20, 2015 at 12:11 pm

    If u must keep ur parent in a home. Choose a catholic facility……they will take very good care of your parents…but truth be told though,i don’t subscribe to that and my mama sef no go gree ohhh. By the time she finish lamenting ehhh,u will hate that u even thought about it

  10. Babs

    July 20, 2015 at 12:40 pm

    Interesting topic, considering our culture plus the infusion of the western culture in these
    a-changing times….a real conundrum!

  11. Cj

    July 20, 2015 at 12:45 pm

    Very Lovely article Atoke , As a Physiotherapist, i can relate with this topic. 90 percent of the patients i see are in age group 50 and above.
    During school i have always wondered this modernization and industrialization that Africa so graves for , are we really ready for it? as a people? With parents sending off their children to countries where they go and adopt their cultures and forgoing our sustainable African family system.
    Luckily my Research topic final year in school was ” Quality of life of the elderly” using social variables like age, gender, income, level of education, Marital status and domains in the WHO-QOL questionnaire which contain for domains of Physical health , social relationship , Environmental health, Psychological Health. to determine the Quality of life the elderly, i used Nnewi North as my population. As a country we have no record of the number of the population entering into the golden age. No records at the National Population Commission Nnewi Center.
    Why was i interested in this topic, i remember my Mother as the “Ada” in her family taking my 2 younger brother to the village at the start of their secondary education to go live in the village to take care of her aging parents, i took combined begging of family members to go have village education . What they understood it at the time. Not to digress from topic at hand …….

    The number of the elderly in the developing world is increasing due to demographic transition, whereas their conditions is deteriorating as a result of fast eroding traditional family system coupled with rapid modernization and urbanization. These changes are expected to affect the QOL of the elderly.
    Nigeria, like other countries in Africa is not an exception to the poor health of the elderly. Despite this poor situation the statistical projection in Nigeria between 1990 and years 2025 showed an increase in the number of the elderly (National population commission, 1998)

    In this transition, there should be adequate nutrition, healthy ageing, and proper functional ability to preserve a minimum QOL. It becomes obligatory to plan to meet the challenges of this future increase. Nigeria, like other countries in Africa still need an information data base which would be specific for those aged 60 years and above. This data could be used for planning and solving their various socioeconomic problems.
    This is getting too long….
    My findings, there was better Quality of life among elderly individuals with high education, as they were able to make informed decision about lifestyle choices , Qol was also good in those with high income, and better physical health.

    I did recommend more research be done in this Area as more people enter into the golden age.
    Our Government is not doing enough, they can afford to travel to here ever to have good health care but how about that old woman in the village that voted you in, its time for us to wake up as country, we always want to rush off to the nearest country to have higher education which is basically research work, but there are a ton of research work to be done in Nigeria, there are no existent records on any and about anything, but over there is a click of the mouse and you have it, we do it , we love it but here there is nothing. I say lets get our hands dirty and sacrifice for this country, we may not be the generation to enjoy and use it but for the generation coming. Like the whites slaved for what we now rush off their to enjoy and don’t come back to plant it into our decaying system. I believe in my country, One Nigeria , Nigeria of my Fathers ,Lets wake up slumbering Nigerians, Lets build this Nation

    • treasure

      July 21, 2015 at 12:21 pm

      preach! you’re so right about us needing a lot more research in Nigeria. but the thing is, if one goes to spend out of his/her “student pocket”, how do we know that it can be put to good use cuz knowing the country we are in…

  12. Unique

    July 20, 2015 at 12:56 pm

    I can feel a lil selfishness in some of this comments and i agree with some of the comments too but however.

    The first point of call is that for those of us coming up, i mean the new generations coming up, we are enlghtened and educated about this aspect. But our old parents mentality and the era they grew up in was entirely different from us, especially the uneducated ones.

    For me i will continue to take take of my parents till they visit the pearly gates and then plan my own retirement not to depend on my children and teach my children same.

  13. dinmamaka

    July 20, 2015 at 1:03 pm

    What about the old ones that never had children? What becomes of them

    • molarah

      July 20, 2015 at 3:22 pm

      That’s probably an anomaly – its almost unheard of in Nigerian society. Most of the time, when the clock turns 50 or 60 and there are no kids in sight many couples would go ahead and ‘adopt’ a child – adopt in quotes ’cause it could be either official or unofficial.

  14. ngee

    July 20, 2015 at 1:07 pm

    Nice one Atoke! I have severally thought about this care home thing, am surprised n happy to hear that we have a few in naija. I have worked in a care home here in the UK, the care the old people receive here is superb, ranging from feeding to personal care. I doubt if that will ever be achieved in Nigeria bcos here, as a career, you get paid some pounds hourly but trust me you do your job to the fullest. You are being supervised every minute. But in naija where people like to eat without working, trust me if you open a care home, the carers wl run it down before you know it because some won’t offer their best. Again, our culture is different, I don’t think my grand parents will love to be put in a care home cos of the mentality that they didn’t put their own parents in a care home so why shld their children do so to them . Again I think that the cost of running a superb care home is Nigeria where we don’t have constant power supply and water, will be more exorbitant so people will prefer to employ carers they can pay #15000 monthly and get their parents cared for in their various homes.

  15. Cj

    July 20, 2015 at 1:12 pm

    Not enough to open old people homes and rehabilitation centers, who is going to run them, do we have expertise in that area, can we afford it, there is a poor health insurance coverage. There is a poor maintenance of public infrastructures and if run privately, how many can afford it?
    My recommendations is people should eat right, exercise more to maintain optimum physical health to be better prepared for health changes that comes with ageing process.
    Government policies should be revised to meet with the health needs, social needs of the low income earners among the elderly population.
    A high level of education confers several advantages for health, such as influences of psychological, environment social factors. Information about health awareness and lifestyle modification should be made available to illiterate elderly individual so as to help them achieving better QOL.
    Family and social support network should be emphasized among family members, Government agencies to ensure that the needs of the less fortunate elderly individuals are met.

    If you get mama ooo all you need is pray for her they wish am well ooo, can’t remember who sang that now.. Have a good week everyone.

  16. Dr. N

    July 20, 2015 at 1:37 pm

    A lot of old folk r sickly as well, and cantakerous. This makes it diff to live with them. One of my old aunts while living with us during my childhood, hung my mother’s blouse on a telephone line (Nitel for d younyuns) and it slid down to the next house. Someone had to climb a roof to get it. No be she wash am O! Na aproko.
    The same woman reported to my dad that we were wasting food. A maid burnt the food and my mom discarded it secretly. She just exposed us like that.
    Nevertheless, we gave her medical care for months and endured her bitter tongue (old ppl can yab).
    Memo to my kids, y’all ain’t sending me off to any home, sorry!
    I do make it a point of duty to be extra kind to d elderly. Some have lost all their kids or even been abandoned.
    Nice one, Atoke. Can I call u Toks? Lol

  17. Benbella

    July 20, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    A timely topic. As Atoke said, culture should be dynamic and change to meet socio-economic demands. The truth is that our great grandparents worked almost until the grave, and did not burden their children until the last few years of their life when their physical frailties made it damn near impossible to continue. My grandmother is in her 90s and tilled her farms and reared her goats until she was 85. But recently working office jobs, and the lack of exercise, and the eating bad and processed food have impacted these generation of older people. By 60, most retire from corporate work or the civil service, and within a few years, require full time care.

    Retirement homes have their advantages. Older folk get to mingle and socialize with their fellow mates in a structured environment without feeling a tinge of being a burden on their immediate family. A widowed older person may even find love again at a retirement home. They take part in activities like games, pot-lucks, cinema time, choir, etc which will keep their minds sharp and give them a new lease of life. Rather than sitting at home, flipping through reruns of Blackberry Babes, or reminiscing about the days when N5 could buy a house.

    However in a country like Nigeria where independence and the concept of personal space is alien due to our patriarchal nature, it will take some evolution for these homes to become the norm. Already things are changing, but it will evolve slowly. Already we can see that it is now considered a near taboo for someone to turn up at your house unannounced. When I was growing up, it was common place especially with relatives who saw it as a birthright. Now anyone coming to visit has to check with you first by calling. People nowadays are doing things for themselves, and depending less on house-helps, as it is more expensive and has its own risks. Attitudes will change towards retirement homes, as the service gets better and improves. and as people are held more accountable for their use of electricity and water via increased utility bills.

    Retirement homes also have some disadvantages. Some kids dump their old parents there, as a way of getting rid of them, and this can cause animosity or frustration in old age. Some people also believe that as your parents took care of you as a child, the circle of life demands that you return the favour when you are older, and they are of frail age. What if your parent passes and you are not there with them in their final hour? No parent should ever have to go that way, without being surrounded by loved ones.

    Do onto your parent, as you would like your kid to do onto you.

    • larz

      July 20, 2015 at 3:04 pm

      Well done Benbella. I remember my great grandmother fought and never agreed to be moved to her daughters. I think one of her children / great grand children came to live with her.

      Tbh- I would hesitate to move my parents to a retirement home in naija. God forbid. I just cant trust care of people dear to me to another. Unless it is regulated that is.

      One thing I disagree with though is “the circle of life demands…”. Caring for people shouldn’t be a demand but something we give freely. Parents should care for their kids out of love and not obligation. Kids should want to take care of their parents because of the love and respect they have for them

  18. larz

    July 20, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    We live in the UK, my mum has a decent pension plan (from naija service and UK service) to live on but yet, she still talks about how she wants her children to be providing for her on retirement. Her desire for this is not born out of necessity but so she can brag to people that her children are taking good care of her. Personally, I think the money she seeks from her children can be better saved to build up new generation kids ensuring they live a good legacy behind. I guess that is the naija culture for you.

    I dont think we are quite there in terms of providing care home. Most naija parents will struggle with this. I think the following might be more convenient
    a) provide good adult carer facilities. This will include health visitors / nurses for periodic visits and carers (non-medic) who provide companionship and run errands with the elderly (drive to shops/ banks etc.
    b) elderly day community centers to engage them in games with other elderly people. People they have so much in common with and can share live. Fashion shows, recreational sports, board games etc.

  19. Stella Kashmoney

    July 20, 2015 at 3:05 pm

    Interesting post. Well written as usual.. Leaving with old folks could be quite demanding and difficult. It takes a certain level of grace sometimes. That said, I think it is time Nigerians embrace the care home culture. We have few private care homes for the elderly in Lagos. I think it’s time we saw them for what they are – convenience and not a taboo. In other news, I am giving away a watch on my blog. Check it out..

  20. gia

    July 20, 2015 at 3:06 pm

    Here in italy you always hear horror stories about old people homes…terrible hygienical conditions,verbal abuses…i would be to afraid to put my mom in one of those places…thank god she’s still strong and clear headed!

  21. Pink

    July 20, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    Well…. I strongly believe that it’s not everything about the western world that we should adapt as ours. I live in the UK and trust me most of these people in care homes would do anything not to be there. Most of them avoid it and those that can afford it would prefer having a care assistant come to their home rather than leave their homes for these retirement homes. A friend’s grandad even ran away from his retirement home, he was later found and promptly returned there. lol
    Anyway the gist is that we have a stronger family structure and family ties in Nigeria and i would not trade that for anything. My mum doesn’t have to come live with me in her old age but I’d provide a good care assistant for her and visit and show love as much as i can. I don’t see it as a burden rather as a duty borne out of love which i will do till they pass on. My parents are not spending their last days in a care home by God’s grace.

  22. molarah

    July 20, 2015 at 3:30 pm

    This world is so interesting. Someone deduced a hint of selfishness in the commenters kicking against providing support to the aged, and I agree. And here’s the irony: in our society its usually those that have been provided the financial opportunity (by the same parents!) to gain schooling or work experience abroad and exposure to other climes that would come back and refuse or be reluctant to support their parents. Meanwhile those that probably didn’t receive so much support from their parents understand its a cultural obligation to take care of them.

    It’s not really anyone’s fault though, and there is definitely a strong case for better managed elderly homes. And there’s an orientation thing to be worked out as well – it’s not that much of a taboo to these elderly ones when they realize that they would be getting the kind of interactions and camaraderie from being among their peers in a care centre that they can’t get even with the most loving of children and grandchildren at home. As with all headaches of the Nigerian society, the final question is, who will bell the cat?

  23. alwayshappy

    July 20, 2015 at 4:06 pm

    2 gbosa’s for this topic, as it affects current and future generations.
    Nigerians in Nigeria and the ones in Diaspora , I feel for all of us, slowly we will see how the unattended areas of our society (in Nigeria) are coming to haunt and make life a bit more difficult for us home and abroad.

    – the corruption
    – the lack of accountable governance
    – the lack of basic infrastructure – water , light, healthcare, safety, good schools
    – the lack of authentic christ like community, looking out for each other, protecting each other , not all this adopted OYO mentality.

    Like poison, it is eroding us of the “culture” we are trying to hold unto while desiring to move into the future, into the 21st abi na 31st century.

    Whether you are 2yr old or 100 yr old , in Nigeria or in the north pole it affects you. You must take the good and leave the bad from every culture, environment or lifestage you find yourself in. Dogma and Progress cannot live together in peace in the same house.

    Planning and Maintenance of your health, sanity, physical needs is not something to be delegated , nor is it to be solitary confinement, together we all can achieve more but not without shedding a bit of our ego, bias, assumptions, our selfishness or self centered ness.

    This is not a debate about who is for or against elder homes, a persons right to choose how to spend their wonder years or a child’s obligations to their parents rather the real question is

    Would our life’s choices be different if we plan differently than prior generations, and if my desires for old age are not the same as prior generations, then I must plan , pray and prepare differently.

  24. @edDREAMZ

    July 20, 2015 at 4:28 pm

    a.k.a EDWIN CHINEDU AZUBUKO said..
    I will take care of my mum and thats, thats…

  25. Funmi

    July 20, 2015 at 4:57 pm

    My parents ve tried too much,made so many sacrifices for me nd my siblings.. I knw popman has life policy,ok I think he has but I will still do everything possible to care for both him nd my mummy. Cos I knw nd believe that if it was jst him nd my mummy without all five of us then they re both set up to live comfortably together till Jesus comes. And my prayer for them is they both live long enough to see me,all of us successful nd get them all the things they didn’t get for themselves jst cs we had needs,schl fees money,allowance nd all of that.

  26. nunulicious

    July 20, 2015 at 5:45 pm

    Dear Atoke,
    What I find most appalling is the pension fund in Nigeria. At the last count, the pension fund in Nigeria was 4TRN naira. Four trillion naira! and we have so many pension fund administrators!

    Please shouldn’t a responsible pension act mandate all pension fund administrators to have a compulsory CSR programme for all adults aged above 70 years old. I think they each should be mandated to run one old people home in each state of the federation. mark my words, the government would soon turn to the pension fund to bail out our economy and that would be very wrong and very saddening.

    That said, it is not our culture to put up our older adults in old people’s home. At worst, you should employ a full time carer for them who will tend to them either in your own home or in theirs. The fact that it is done in UK and US does not make it right. and all that hogwash about culture being dynamic is in my opinion a reflection of colonial mentality. why doesn’t their own culture evolve to be more family oriented like ours rather than us jettison ours to embrace individuality and self-centredness.

    • Aleesha

      July 21, 2015 at 11:05 am

      I wish I could love your comment more than once,

    • Que

      July 21, 2015 at 12:40 pm

      “…The fact that it is done in UK and US does not make it right. and all that hogwash about culture being dynamic is in my opinion a reflection of colonial mentality. why doesn’t their own culture evolve to be more family oriented like ours rather than us jettison ours to embrace individuality and self-centredness….”

      Case closed! Getting full time help n on-hand nurse is d only alternative I’d consider…

    • Root

      July 23, 2015 at 5:48 pm

      Well said dear. If only those who are clamouring for old peoples’ home can imagine their own children checking them off into one of them facilities and selling off their(the parents’) houses to pay for the services, I am sure they will give a shudder.

  27. Tunmi

    July 20, 2015 at 6:29 pm

    Human beings are selfish. There, I said it. I would not oppose the idea of putting my parents in a home care facility. The biggest reason would be that they would be with their age mates. That social interaction is huge. Of course I will do my research to find them a home of quality, but I cannot discount the fact that having others with shared experiences makes life better.

    1. I will have my own family, whether it is just me and pursuing my career and interests, or if it includes a partner and I, or if it includes kids.

    2. Too much reminiscing sef may lead to regret. Let them make new memories with others their age mates. They will have many things in common.

    3. They will still have that Independence. And yes I will visit. They can have many activities and still be able to make personal decisions for themselves.

    And no it is not an anomaly that there are elderly Nigerians without children. It is not an anomaly that some Nigerians actively choose to not have kids. And what about those whose kids died?

    I am definitely saving up for retirement. I’m looking into a Roth IRA account, any suggestions?

  28. Mabel

    July 20, 2015 at 8:08 pm

    This is the reason I have never wanted to live past 70. Heck, even if I go sooner I don’t care as long as I am in good mental and physical health. I have no desire to be a burden a soul. My parents are old school and do expect their children to care for them in old age, they don’t even believe in cremation or being buried in a cemetery, they are as old school as it gets.
    Your life is your responsibility to secure, though I would not put my parents in a home, I don’t think that I could deal with the care myself, especially if they need specialized care. One of the reasons to have your children a little older in life too, if they are just 20 yrs younger than you, they may have their own health issues or lack the strength to take care of you when you are older. Secure yourself, parents outlive children everyday, you can’t depend on anyone but God and yourself in this life.

    Great topic btw!

    • anonwithani

      October 6, 2015 at 3:57 pm

      In as much as I get your comment, your last statement is logically flawed. Having your kids when you are much younger (eg in your 20s early 30s) means they get to have settled down well into their 40s by the time you are in your 70s and needing care. Hence possibly end up in the same care home (lol). On the other hand, having kids later on means you will end up being more of a burden as they are just starting to enjoy their independence or new family and voila, mummy and daddy need to live with us. In all this sha my own is whatever we want to do, we should do based on our beliefs or conscience. Doing it just cos its done in the west does not make it right. so let’s stop all that type of talk.

  29. Strit Kredibility

    July 20, 2015 at 8:46 pm

    This to me is a no brainer. The holy book enjoined us to honour our father and mother and to me that entails taking good care of them in the evening of their lives and not putting them through indignity. No amount of education, sophistication, poshness, dream chasing, can make me disrespect my parents, and by disrespect i mean abandoning them to the vicissitude of third party care. Iro nla. They will always have one of us around to give them first class attention.

  30. Koffie

    July 20, 2015 at 9:41 pm

    Very thought provoking piece Atoke, well done.
    Nunilicious, I agree with you on government mandating PFAs to own a retirement home in each state where they operate/have customers. The funds under management (pensions) is too high for them to not be strictly regulated to provide certain things for the pensioners. That’s something worth pushing for, I don’t know how I will but I’d like to fight for that.
    That said, I believe in having options and choosing what works best but I don’t see me putting my parents in a home, so help me God. My parents are quite independent and only require love from us kids but if death were to take one of them and leave the other, I’d take my parent into my home and hire carers (medic and non-medic) or leave the parent in his/her home with same carers and visit, call or and Skype as much as I can.
    I have a friend in his 40s who told his first son already to let him ‘go with honour’ should he ever have a mental illness at old age or become incapacitated in anyway. I was stunned, it’s understandable but the thought of it scared me. I shan’t be assisting any loved one to die. Too heartbreaking ?

  31. Koffie

    July 20, 2015 at 9:44 pm

    Well unless it’s more devastating to watch them live in such a state. Nonetheless, I don’t have the ‘okan akin’ (balls) to do it.

  32. Gorgeous

    July 21, 2015 at 1:31 am

    Funny how all of you with so many opinions have both parents alive. It is when you lose one parent and the other is alone that you truly realize that you have to make good plans to the one alive lives a decent life. After my dad died, my mum has become so attached to us and alone. It is sad, we cannot leave her to herself because what if an accident happens? She tries to stay alone but complains bitterly, even house help is a struggle. Personally I am going to make plans in my old age to stay in a retirement community till I die. One where I have my own condo and other facilities. I never fancied sharing my space because I am a highly grumpy individual. Lol

  33. MzDee

    July 21, 2015 at 1:37 am

    Its funny how we adopt and adopt yet what amazes Westerners about us is our SOLIDARITY. We care for our own.

  34. babygiwa

    July 21, 2015 at 9:40 am

    I’m not putting my mom in any home. I’m going to hire carers to look after her in her own home and visit and call as often as possible.
    That being said, I think we need to invest in the old peoples’ homes. We have such an irresponsible government, they find it hard to deliver on the public good mandate.
    Nice article Atoks baby?

  35. Mama

    July 21, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    Dear Atoke,

    We do not put our old people in homes for the same reason they do not kick you out of their house once you are 18 or ask you to pay rent if you decide to remain at home post 18.

    It’s not a debt you pay your back, but rather it’s the love that binds. My father died last year and he had Alzeimers and he still lived at home all we did was get round the clock nursing care for him, the man did not need our money, he lives in his house in iKoyi, but from that moment on, we his children paid for everything he needed, out of the love we had for him and in gratitude for all he did for us.

  36. Tinkerbel

    July 21, 2015 at 8:36 pm

    The issue is pretty straight forward for normal families where there are established family bonds. You won’t be so eager to put your beloved aged parents in a community, except they expressly request it.
    But for families that suffered breakups (parental separation or divorce) which led to broken relationships, their ass will either be abandoned in their own homes.
    Same goes for parents who let their kids know, they didn’t really give a damn about them.
    Same goes for parents with nasty attitudes and personalities.
    There will be no co-living. The best they will get is allowance to handle their business. The rich ones who are healthy and don’t need allowance, will get the occasional phone call on birthdays and festive seasons.

  37. Amenghasihiontosegbe

    July 21, 2015 at 9:17 pm

    As u said the children didn,t ask to be born.Note no parent asked to be born.either. nobody on earth asked to be born.your parents arrived via their parents as u arrived thru yours..these are facts..the society every where expects procreation& that you should look after your offsprings,who may turn out good or bad depending on your yardstick for measuring who is a good child properly brought up.You are not forced to look after your parents in their old age..It is up to the individual child to decide to convince him or herself that his/her parents are not worthy of care in their old age.In due course yourt turn will come& you will re -evaluate this article.May you not do what will make your parents put a curse on you.The idea of old peoples old is good but have you ever been into any of them to see the squalor ?

  38. Root

    July 23, 2015 at 5:58 pm

    My singular prayer to God is to bless me with good health of mind and body for as long as He keeps me alive. I intend to keep working and being very active till I drop even if I live to a hundred and twenty years. I would never ever think of putting my parents away. It can’t even occur to me in my nightmares. My conscience will kill me for sure.

  39. tito

    March 18, 2016 at 3:11 pm

    i can totally relate with this.myself and my brother just were starting our lives when our father suffered stroke, with no family members, no other siblings, we cant even afford not to go to work because where do we want to get the finances we would need to take care of his feeding, hospital bills different scans o…. and a whole lot of other expenses.
    we cant even afford to allow one person to stop working cuz every penny makes sense. then i started to find out about old peoples’ home in Nigeria and found out we really do not have or like atoke said not all of them have upgrade websites.
    fast-forward…… he died after 8 months . there and there i told my self, if its the only thing i am able to do is to create a very good home for our elderly people to enjoy the rest of their old age, i will do. By Gods Grace.
    we all have good intentions , we all want to take care of our old people, but it is easier said than done with the kind of life some of us live ….. leaving house before 6am , we don’t get back home till past 9pm… work extra hours to make extra cash on weekends, and yet we still donot make enough.
    all in all, i think we dont need to wait till that time to show all the love we have now to them, cuz no one knows tomorrow.
    i will give anything to spend another hour with my dad! i miss him so much

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