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By NBF News
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The lagoon front of the University of Lagos, Akoka, Lagos, came alive recently with fun-filled activities. Members of International Inner Wheel District 911 wined and dined with some senior citizens, giving them the golden opportunity to relax, feel the cool breeze on their wrinkled skin and calm their frayed nerves.

The serene atmosphere and caressing breeze of the waterside provided a cool feeling which relaxed the nerves of all senior citizens present at the event. Fun and excitement filled the air as they arrived from Old Peoples Home, Lancaster, Yaba, Holy Family Catholic Home for the elderly, Mushin and Senior Citizens from Ifako-Ijaiye Local Government area, Iju, Lagos to relax at the seaside. Decked in Inner Wheel uniforms, these senior citizens looked forward to a great time with their charitable hosts.

Despite the blow age has dealt on some of them, they were happy to be hosted by warm-hearted women, who dotted on them as smiles played out on their wrinkled faces throughout the event. With slow gait and faint strength, they moved to the rhythm of music playing slowly in the background.

Aside from providing these senior citizens with fun and relaxation, it was also a time for important lectures to help them maximise their lives the more. The topics included growing gracefully into old age and health talks for the elderly, as well as a question and answer session. They listened attentively during the lectures interrupting when necessary and totally absorbing the lessons of living life to the full. One of the lecturers, Past District Chairman, Ibijoke Kukoyi, shared with them the secrets of her youthful looks at 80.

'Age is nothing but a number if you believe it,' she said. 'You are young when you set your mind to it. Age is nothing to be afraid of and neither is dying. Old age need not be marked by disease and disability. Older adults can take action, even well into their 60s and 70s, to reduce the risk of developing chronic disease and avoid injury. You have to cultivate a healthy lifestyle like exercising every day, and eat healthy foods that contain healthy vitamins and minerals.'

Kukoyi explained that exercise helps control one's weight, lowers blood pressure, and strengthens body muscles, which in turn makes one less likely to fall. But you don't need to join a gym, or suffer through rigorous workouts, she said. Instead, more mild activities, such as walking, gardening, or anything to keep moving would be sufficient.

She advised them that fruits and vegetables are the best food to eat because they aid the body in maintaining strength and fill them up easily. She equally encouraged them to go for regular checkups, and take food supplements as well.

Mrs. Julie Shekoni, District Chairman of International Inner Wheel, District 911 covering Lagos and Ogun States, said the relaxation time out with the elderly in the society was one project she was proud to carry out this year, adding that the aim was to make them feel accepted and loved.

'We realized that some of these elderly ones have not had the opportunity to leave the four walls of their homes not to talk relaxing at the waterside. We decided to take them out and create an avenue for them to meet their mates from other homes. It is a time also to eat, dine and receive gifts that will make them remember Inner Wheel,' she said.

According to her, the programme would be a continuous one for International Inner Wheel members even as her tenure as DC comes to an end in June.

She taught the senior citizens to remain grateful to God for bringing them into old age. 'It is God's blessing to grow into old age because nobody can guarantee long life for himself,' she added.

Shekoni encouraged people to bring their aged ones into old people's homes because they have to mix up and interact with their mates. 'It is wrong for Nigerians to assume that children who take their old ones to old people's homes can't take care of them. It is the only place they can meet and catch up on old times with their mates. It gives them the opportunity to mingle and share ideas. It is not in our culture to abandon elderly ones but it cannot be overruled,' she stated.

During the games session, the senior citizens laughed heartily at the jokes being dished out by the comedian in the house. You could really see joy on their old faces as they grinned from ear-to-ear after some jokes. After entertaining them with food and drinks, it was time to share gifts so as to make the day memorable. Then, they posed for photographs with the organizers of the event.