Written By: Rose Mary Kayi
The 2020 general election campaigns is gathering momentum in Ghana with lots of campaign promises flooding everywhere for almost everyone, except the elderly, who regrettably, seem to have been completely forgotten by politicians and the media.
Its interesting to see how media discussions these days are heavily focused on issues affecting the youth and other groups except that of the elderly. This is very worrying, considering the untold hardship most of these elderly people are experiencing nation wide.
So, why is the care needs of the elderly not an issue in this year’s election? Where are the policies for older persons? And , why is no one talking about them?
The welfare of elderly people deserve to be prioritized in Ghana simply because they are also citizens of Ghana. They deserve better social protection and better care after contributing so much of their adult life to the growth and development of this country over the years. They deserve better from government, they deserve better from the media, and they deserve better from the entire Ghanaian society.
Yet, all they get from society today is neglect, constant abuse and terrible human rights violations. Majority of them particularly those in rural communities are experiencing domestic violence, violent attacks, isolation, poor medical care, hunger, personal hygiene issues and several others that should command our attention.
Another serious challenge is the lack of formal care plan and facilities for the elderly in Ghana, leaving the burden of elder care solely on family members
As I monitor commentary on the various manifesto promises by political parties, it’s clear none is prioritizing the needs of older persons. And to make matters worse, the media doesn’t seem to care much.
While the National Democratic congress (NDC) has made a few promises for the aged under social protection such as: provision of day care centers, welfare cards for easy access to social services, establishment of special exercise parks and recreational centers; as well as training of more health personnel in domiciliary care for the elderly; there is no focus whatsoever on any of these issues in the media.
As a society, we have a responsibility towards vulnerable people including the elderly.
We have a duty to start focusing on how to improve the welfare of elderly persons in every community. We have to do this not just because it is the right thing to do, but also because, we shall also join this group sooner or latter if we don’t die early.
Therefore, Its time we push politicians to prioritize the human rights and well being of older persons in Ghana starting from this years elections – and the media has a key role to play in achieving this very important goal.