ANALYSIS OF THE LIVING CONDITIONS OF THE ELDERLY IN LAFIA LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA, NASARAWA STATE, NIGERIA

ANALYSIS OF THE LIVING CONDITIONS OF THE ELDERLY IN LAFIA LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA, NASARAWA STATE, NIGERIA

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ABSTRACT

The elderly in Nigeria are denied resources by formal institutions towards retirement and comfort to life in advanced stage of their existence. Yet, they are the custodians of culture and tradition, mediators during conflict resolution and contributors in enforcing peace in their various communities. Thus, their living conditions is of paramount importance especially in Lafia local government area because it comprises of varying diverse cultures and traditions which can only be held confidential and transferred to the younger ones when they are due, by the elderly persons. This study therefore examined the general living conditions of the elderly, factors affecting their living conditions, types and sources of support as well as the coping strategies of the elderly in Lafia Local Government Area, Nasarawa State, Nigeria. The study used their social, economic and health conditions as indicators. Purposive sampling technique was adopted and a structured questionnaire was administered to 399 respondents from six wards in the Local Government Area. In addition, Focus Group Discussions were held and In-depth Interviews were conducted on the subject matter to complement the quantitative data. Data were analyzed with both descriptive and inferential statistics using the Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS). The study showed that 77% of the respondents are in the early elderly (65-74) age group in which female respondents constitute 59.1% and males 40.9%. Farming and trading constitute the most important occupations engaged by the elderly with about 67.9%. However, majority of the elderly constituting 63.7% generate less than N 16,000 per month. The result of the principal component analysis (PCA) showed that factors such as health and nutrition of the elderly (11.50 eigenvalue), support given to the elderly (0.78 eigenvalue) and socialization and family association (0.60 eigenvalue) are the major factors influencing the living conditions of the elderly in Lafia. Majority of the support for the elderly is gotten from the children with 49.1%, and the nature of support for the elderly appeared to be mainly financial support with about 49.1% in the study area. Going by this, the living standard of the elderly is concluded to be generally low. The study recommends that there is need for health insurance schemes for the elderly, special supply of food supplements for the old and also the provision of geriatric healthcare facilities like specialized hospital and old people's homes either by Nasarawa State government or private individuals. There is also need for stakholders to design policies that will ensure the elderly are financially secured in their old age so as to improve their standard of living.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

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