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Cote D’ivoire’s First Retirement Home Still Waiting for Residents

In Attécoubé, a working-class neighborhood in the west of Abidjan, two retired septuagenarians talk about life in their courtyard. None of the sisters-in-law would imagine spending her old days in a retirement home.

Cote d’Ivoire’s first establishment opened in September. At the end of November, it had no resident.

“What I want, they cannot give to me there, says 78-yeard-old Elisabeth Qwansah.

“I want to see my niece, Mamitchi in the morning. She will make me coffee, give me cereal porridge, grind foutou (plantain, ed.), wash my clothes. “

“Mamitchi will do all that. Why would I get the trouble to go over there (to the retirement home, ed.)? I’ll die quickly there. I’m going to stay with Mamitchi.”

Cote d’Ivoire’s first retirement home is located on the outskirts of Abidjan in Bingerville. The spacious house is equipped with seven adapted beds and staff trained in geriatrics.

According to Ivorian sociologist specializing in aging, Arnaud Dayoro, the elderly in Cote d’Ivoire are cared for by family members in 80% of cases in other cases neighbours step in.

“Stigma”

In addition to deeply rooted values, Nina Zougo, the director of the retirement home, would point to the stigma faced by people interested in the home.

“What stops people who call us from coming to this retirement home is their fear of being judged”, the founder says.

“They are afraid of [the judgemental looks] they will receive. They wonder: What will my friends say? What will my family think? That’s their concern.”

After nearly half a century in France, Albert Kipré decided to return to his homeland five months ago to avoid the retirement home in the European nation where some of his children live.

He says it is the link between generations and the quality of life in Cote d’Ivoire which motivated his choice.

“Since I had retired and had nothing to do over there, so I told myself, I’m going to be with my family again. Even though I’ve got six children over there, they’re working, they’re busy. Life in Europe doesn’t allow you to be with them most of the time. But here, we’re a family. Over there, I have a family without having one actually.”

Nina Zougo says she’s aware of the anomalies that occurred in Western retirement homes and aims to create a lively living space for the elderly.

If she can achieve that, one issue remains: affordability. A one-day stay costs about 60 dollars, half the minimum monthly salary in Cote d’Ivoire.

Source: Africa News

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