IKA WEEKLY – As an 89-year old farmer in Aliohen village, Udomi-abavo said, “I am needed by my children, and grandchildren, and it is a good thing to see my great-grandchildren in this world, except that I can not turn the earth over in planting and it has become difficult to climb and cut my palms”.
This assertion drives home the fact that the aged are always optimist and that they find pleasure in the prospect of continued life.
The aged are never seen sitting on chairs for long periods and as such consider overweight people as ill and when they see such person, will inquire about his health.
One of the important factors is that the elderly feel useful because the family and indeed the community make the old people feel important for at least coming to them for information and advice.
Since the elderly, especially “those who have paid their dues” when they were young cannot be discarded as a spent-force, what then are the secret of longer life?
Good air of higher altitude, plain but nourishing food and plenty of hard physical work are credited for the exceptional longevity of people in the West African coast.
That feeling of usefulness and satisfying work are said to be important factors to longevity.
For example, a recent research conducted at Duke Universityâ€™s center for the study of Aging and Human Development reveals that persons satisfied with their lots in life and happy with their work live longer.
It has also been observed that longevity often runs in family and so, heredity is an important factor in longer life.
What then are the causes of aging?
A Brazilian magazine “OGLOBO” has said, “even if medicine and surgery were to accomplish all the miracle we expect of them, there will be no prospect of greatly human life”.
That means that, even if were protected from all accidents and all sickness, possible and imaginable, our span of life would not go beyond an average of eighty years.
Why do some trees live thousands of years and still maintain their vigour whereas the human frame weakens, shrinks and generally disappears in less than a century?
Science tells us that the continuation of life depends on human bodyâ€™s ability to rebuild the cells. However at certain age, the cells fail to be renewed properly.
In this process, the organism gradually, until it finally comes to a complete stop.
A study of human biology reveals that our cells which seem to be programmed by their genes gradually to undergo those changes with time, which we call aging, but modern science has not provided a satisfying answer as to why these changes in the cells occur, resulting in aging and eventual death.
It is believed by many doctors that old age is not a disease; and that it does not kill human beings.
No one died of old age, yet all die; why do men die?
The answer to the question why do men die; defiled all scientific proofs including the unreligious evolution theories, as look into the scripture seem to have provided a most-realistic belief that death came to stare human beings on face because of sin which was brought about by the first man (ADAM).
The Bible tells us in the book of Romans chapter 5, verse 12 that “sin came into the world through one man and his sin brought death with it As a result, death has spread to the whole human race because everyone has sinned”
The hope, confidence and enjoyment which older person find in life depends to a great extent on themselves and are influenced by the attitudes of their children.
If a man has a real purpose in life, every passing day brings satisfaction, even though there may be pain or weakness with which to contend.
Majority of the older persons who have filled their minds and hearts with good things found in Godâ€™s word, and are taking pleasure in sharing these with others through personal association, publication of periodicals, newspapers and magazines and doing good to all manner of persons usually find life in the later years pleasurable.
Those who appreciate what others, most especially their children do for them and what they personally are able to do to provide the necessities and comforts of life are most likely to enjoy longer life span.
But the biggest factors in the enjoyment of life is their being able to do some thing for others, I mean something that is important, something that can help them to appreciate their creator even though death seem knocking.
Once an older person can do all these in addition to taking care of oneself and be rest assured you are doing the will of your creator, there is no reason why the later years would not be most rewarding.