A Medical and Social Entrepreneur Dr. Yao Mfodwo is proposing that senior citizens must constitute majority of government boards.
Speaking at the first annual stakeholders’ forum on ageing matters held in Accra, Dr. Mfodwo argued senior citizens have a lot of experience which must be tapped to improve Ghana’s corporate governance system.
He reiterated that retiring at age 60 is a waste of talent and experience.
“Majority of government boards should be senior citizens. They are experienced with great ideas and have a lot of time on their hands,” Dr. Mfodwo stressed.
Exploring the significance of mental health and lifestyle choices and the consciousness that the elderly are bored and easily depressed, Dr. Mfodwo noted that “there is the loss of power and self esteem because of neglect and loneliness. If we take good care of them, they will be happier and healthier.”
Speaking at the same forum, the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Ashesi University College Prof. Stephen Adei indicated that the country has nothing to write home about in terms of ageing and national policy.
He added that retiring at age 60 is reasonable but what is necessary is to differentiate between statutory retirement and playing a role in the society or organization. “In terms of policy, the most important thing is the active engaging of retirees for national development which could be the consideration of negotiating a half time or quarter time with them”.
Prof. Adei stated that in the last two years of their lives, the aged spend more on medical bills, adding that “financially, we need to take care of them. The reason most of them are miserable and not engaging in recreation is because they don’t have the means. We must look at caring for the aged and this should not be based on their income.”
Dr. Esi Ansah, founder of AGE, engaged participants with thought-provoking issues such as the role of technology in creating social networks for senior citizens in terms of keeping them engaged, what the aged can do in terms of staying active and bridging the gap between the rural elderly and the urban senior citizens.
She explained that AGE is engaging different stakeholders and organizations to tailor their products and services to meet the needs of the aged, “while we focus on the 60 plus folks, we also have interest in the 40 to 60 folks, and will court them towards dignified ageing.”
The First Annual Stakeholders’ Forum On Ageing Matters, held under the theme – “Ageing: Mental Health, Lifestyle Choices and National Policy”, brought multiple stakeholders together to start a serious and honest conversation about ageing in Ghana, identifying the opportunities for relevant interventions and institutionalizing them for posterity. Some notable personalities at the event included Prof. Charles Mate-Kole (Director of the Centre for Ageing Studies), Mrs. Rosina Acheampong (former headmistress of Wesley Girls Senior High School), Kwaku Sakyi-Addo (Board Member of AGE) including a host of distinguished professionals who supported as facilitators.
The AGE forum is an initiative of the Association of Ghana’s Elders (AGE); an organization that seeks to address the concerns of senior citizens (people over 60 years of age) by promoting their holistic development and interests through innovative interventions in eight thematic areas; Socio Cultural, Economic, Health, Technology, Education, Environment, Politics and Legal.
Ultimately, AGE envisions an Africa where senior citizens are actively and productively engaged in their communities, and are healthy and happy with the quality of their lives.
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