Former President, General Olusegun Obasanjo (84) speaks on ageing and wellbeing at an Elders’ Forum Meeting that took place at the UCH Ibadan.
Time needed: 5 minutes.
Former President, General Olusegun Obasanjo, is 84 years old. However, one hardly notices as soon as the old man hits the dance floor. Or engages in aerobic exercise. His fancy footwork is a wonder to behold. It is therefore no surprise that he is now sought after as a speaker on how to age gracefully. Here’s what he said recently as a guest speaker at an Elders’ Forum Meeting. The meeting held at Chief Tony Anenih Geriatric Centre of University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan. He basically gave 10 recommendations on how anyone can manage the ageing process.
- Know that Ageing is natural and inevitable
Individuals must come to terms with the reality that ageing is a natural process that cannot be reversed with drugs. Ageing, however, can be managed by eating right, having adequate rest, doing regular medical checkups, mental exercises. Maintaining good social interaction and regular exercising also helps, he said.
- Confront it Without Fear
Elderly people shouldn’t worry unduly about ageing since it is inevitable, Nor should they be scared by anyone telling them they’ll about their having to die soon. Instead, they should make plans to live for as long as is possible. “Ageing does not mean that you must lose your tooth; even the graying hair is dignifying,” he said to laughter in the hall.
- Save for retirement
People should prepare for ageing in one important aspect; have enough savings to take care of yourself in your old age. “Things are changing; our culture is changing. So plan your old age.” He didn’t have to elaborate. Young people face more challenges today while others do not care to look after their aged parents.
- Plan the house you’ll live in carefully
Part of the preparation for ageing is to have a well-planned residential accommodation. Everybody should have 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.” Others have missed their steps in a staircase because they didn’t think of climbing those stairs in their old age.
- Follow a good diet plan
The President said 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.
- Eat fruits and vegetables
Don’t forget fruits and vegetables, he said. Intake of fruits and vegetables daily is also important for a good reason. Fruits and vegetables give the body vitamins and minerals. Because they are a good source of dietary fibre, they help old people maintain a healthy gut and prevent constipation and other digestive problems.
- Do twice-yearly medical checkups
OBJ also stressed the need for medical checkups to be conducted twice a year since the body is ageing. The idea is to achieve early detection and prompt treatment of any disease discovered. “This will prevent complications and boost the quality of life.” He disclosed that this helped him to manage a disease that many have easily succumbed to (see conclusion)
- Have a first aid box at home
This will give a crucial treatment in sudden situations, before one goes to hospital or a doctor comes to attend to one. It can be anything minor or more serious injury. With a first aid kit, one can treat cuts, scrapes, and injuries. A first aid kit typically includes a variety of supplies that will help treat cuts, scrapes and all manner of injuries, including sprains and burns in the home.
- Maintain healthy lifestyle
The Owu Chief asked his fellow gerontocrats to ensure they get involved regularly in activities that will task their brains. In addition, they should maintain a healthy weight and good social interactions with friends, family and community members that will not pose stress to them.
- Always boost your immunity
Chief Obasanjo told the gathering that he boosts his immunity with medicinal herbs. But he advised the elderly to speak with their doctors before trying alternative drugs and medicinal herbs. He recommended “bitter kola and kola nut as stimulants with medicinal values.” He also said that the “herbal concoction (agbo) boosts my immunity.”
Obasanjo Speaks on Ageing and wellbeing
The agbo that is mixed for him “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.”
He stressed the need for medical checkups for early detection and treatment of diseases.
“I was diagnosed with diabetes almost 40 years ago,” he revealed. “Some people with the disease 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.
Chief Medical Director of UCH, Prof. Jesse Otegbayo, praised the former President on the presentation.He described Obasanjo as the “most eminently qualified person to make his presentation on helpful tips to age gracefully.”
“He has both the physical health and the mental capacity to tell us how to live a useful, elderly life,” he said.
Obasanjo Speaks on Ageing and wellbeing