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By Olukemi Ogundeji
Former Nigeria president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, said ageing is a natural process that cannot be reversed with drugs but could be attained gracefully by eating right, adequate rest, regular medical checkups, mental exercises, maintaining good social interaction and regular exercising.
Chief Obasanjo, in a lecture he delivered at the Elders’ Forum Meeting of the Chief Tony Anenih Geriatric Centre, University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, stated that ageing is inevitable, and so elderly people should not let anyone scare them with the issue of death.
He said, “ageing does not mean that you must lose your tooth; even the graying hair is dignifying. Prepare for ageing; have savings for old age. Things are changing; our culture is changing so plan your old age, including having a well thought-out house that is safe to stay. Many aged people die, for instance, due to home accidents such as a fall in the bathroom.”
He added that as good as food is, if diet is not carefully planned, it can become poisonous. “The type of food, how we eat it and the combination we eat are as important as the amount taken. Intake of fruits and vegetables daily is also important,” he said.
He stressed the need for medical checkups to be conducted twice a year since the body is ageing, and detection and prompt treatment of any disease discovered will prevent complications and boost the quality of life.
“I was diagnosed with diabetes almost 40 years ago; some with the disease had died within five years because there is no drug for diabetes. It cannot be cured but diabetes can be managed. There is no disease that cannot be managed but you must know it early before it is advanced and so, the need for medical checkups,” he added.
Obasanjo reiterated the need for the elderly to have a first aid box at home, ensure that they get involved regularly in activities that will task their brains, maintain a healthy weight and good social interactions with friends, family and community members that will not pose stress to them.
Chief Obasanjo, declaring that he boosts his immunity with medicinal herbs, said the elderly could use medicinal herbs after talking with their doctors.
According to him, “bitter kola and kola nut are stimulants and have medicinal values. The herbal concoction (agbo) for boosting my immunity contains neem, pawpaw leaf, lime, ginger, garlic, turmeric, and so on. These are boiled for about 15 minutes in water and stored in the fridge. When I am ready to drink it, I warm it and sweeten it with honey.”
Earlier, UCH’s Chief Medical Director, Professor Jesse Otegbayo stated that the event is about the lifestyle and health of the elderly, just as he admonished them on how to keep fit even at very old age.
Otegbayo, speaking through the hospital’s chairman, Medical Advisory Committee, Dr Abiodun Adeoye, said it is expected that the event would provide the elderly with the impetus to continue to live healthier lives.
According to him, Chief Obasanjo is the most eminently qualified person to make his presentation on helpful tips to age gracefully.
“I have always believed that our former President has both the physical health and the mental capacity to tell us how to live a useful, elderly life,” he said.