In Summary
  • The situation in Nyeri is aggravated by the fact that the county does not have a home for the elderly.
  • Last Wednesday, the elderly in Nyeri marched around the town to mark the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

One chilly day in July 2012, the plight of frail senior citizens was brought to the fore at a food and blankets distribution event in Mweiga town, Nyeri County.

The way they scrambled for the goodies donated by well-wishers showed just how desperate they were.

But the scramble was too much for some, like Ms Leah Wanjiku from Amboni Village in Kieni. Ms Wanjiku, who was 83 at the time, fainted due to what her colleagues attributed to hunger.

Last Wednesday, the elderly in Nyeri marched around the town to mark the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

SOCIALISE

It was the first time most of them were leaving their homes to socialise with others. The pain of social isolation was clear.

Deprived of strength, in poor health and most likely with little or no pension, many are living from hand to mouth.

The solitude sometimes becomes overwhelming, leading to mental problems. The Nation tracked some of the cases but cannot reveal the identities of the women because of the sensitivity of the matter.

In Githiru village in Nyeri Town Constituency, Cecilia Muthoni (not her real name), 97, lives with her daughter-in-law. The mother of five, who suffers from dementia, was abandoned by her children two years ago. They never come to visit.

Previously, she lived in Thunguma village about five kilometres away in her matrimonial home but had to be moved when the one-bedroom dilapidated structure became uninhabitable.

UNCOMFORTABLE

After inquiring around, the Nation traced one of Ms Muthoni’s daughters, who does not live far from her.

“With her condition, she kept soiling the home, there was too much work and made others in the home uncomfortable,” said the middle-aged woman.

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