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Nduati calls for more community involvement to curb exploitation of the elderly

C.E.O. and Founder Nduati Njuguna Foundation Mr. Anthony Nduati Njuguna has c
ited the challenges faced by senior citizens after being abandoned by their children and falling prey to greedy people who grab their property.

While speaking at Maranatha Faith Assemblies Church in Thika during International Day of Older Persons celebrations, Nduati  noted that as the elderly became more physically frail, they became less able to take care of themselves thus leaving openings for unscrupulous people to take advantage of them.

"Everyone deserves to live in safety, with dignity and respect. Psychological abuse, deception, intimidation and financial exploitation have become so rampant when we talk about the elderly. Nonetheless, the society is very reluctant to accept and assist impaired elderly victims of exploitation," he said.

Nduati also noted that majority of the elderly persons lived in abject poverty after their hard-earned wealth was taken from them by their younger kin or their land grabbed by greedy people who took advantage of their vulnerability to change ownership of such land.

He said that there was need for the government to seek ways to absorb them into programmes that would take care of them in their old age. He also appealed to county government, who were the custodians of health services at the grassroots, to come up with tangible programmes to offer free medication to the aged.

A section of the elderly in Thika have complained of discrimination in the way beneficiaries of those who are to benefit from the various government assistance are selected.

They have pointed an accusing finger to the "Nyumba Kumi" leaders and community representatives for failure to identify all genuine cases within their villages.

They said that majority of those who benefited were either family members, friends to these Nyumba Kumi leaders or those who were able to bribe their way to registration.

"We have been having a very big challenge with the registration of older persons for the various government aids especially the cash transfer programme. These village elders select their kin and friends and those who are able to bribe for registration. Quite a good number of genuine cases are usually left out of these programmes," lamented Rev. James Kariuki.

He appealed to the government to expand the selection committees to include other stakeholders in order to diversify the process of  identifying needy cases.

Rev. Kariuki also took issue with the stereotyping of the aged persons especially in health facilities where certain diseases were treated as exclusive to the aged.

"Aging is not a disease and each person should be handled equally despite their age. Medics should change their attitude towards old persons and not discriminate them on account of their vast years," he said.

His sentiments were echoed by Richard Mukeka who appealed to the authorities to enroll all aged persons for free healthcare. He noted that some hospitals were turning away senior citizens who were registered under the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) Inua Jamii 70+ programme.

The Foundation donated food hampers to the aged and promised to assist them wherever possible.

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