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Psychosocial health challenges of the elderly in Nigeria: a narrative review

Victor J. Animasahun, Helena J. Chapman

Abstract


Background: Globally, national health systems are challenged to build successful aging models to prepare for biomedical, psychological and social changes. The integral component of psychosocial health in overall quality of life and well-being, however, is underscored and requires greater focus. Changing demographics in Nigeria, in addition to cultural considerations and absence of a social security system, present unique challenges to elderly.

Objective: We aimed to review the literature that describes the current situation and challenges in psychosocial health status in the elderly in Nigeria and provide recommendations that promote health and well-being during the aging process.

Results: Four primary factors affect psychosocial health status of elderly Nigerians, namely: changes in family dynamics, increased demand for healthcare services, increased economic stress, and decreased functional independence.

Conclusion: Like other developing countries, the Nigerian national system faces similar challenges in preparing a national framework that can maximize coverage to citizens in the midst of demographic changes in aging. By focusing on five target areas such as the educational system, health services, community-based initiatives, local or regional policies and national strategies, current framework in Nigeria can be modified to prepare for changing demographics in aging.

Keywords: Aging, family support, Nigeria, psychosocial


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