Elder’s forum chair calls for broadening of Pictures of Ageing study across the country
The Academy at Blockchain Conference

The Chairperson of the National Elder’s Forum Rtd. Justice James Ogoola implored the Academy to replicate the Pictures of Aging study in other parts of the country to better influence solutions to the issues affecting the elderly by policymakers. Speaking at the project’s stakeholder meeting that was held at the Kampala Serena hotel on 20th April 2023, the retired judge commended the work that was done but emphasized the need to push the project beyond Busukuma division in Wakiso district.

“This study was done in one place, that is predominantly rural. I suggest you take it to the Northern or West Nile regions of Uganda. Take it all over the country, and I guarantee you the results will not be the same.” He said.

“If all these results are shared with policymakers, then we can begin to grapple with the enormously complex issue of ageing. How do we take care of the elderly? Which model is more appropriate? The western or traditional one. A bigger sample space, I believe, gives us more options to choose from.”

The stakeholder meeting, also attended by the older persons from Busukuma, representatives from the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Gender, National Council for Older Persons, and Makerere University, was organized to disseminate the results of the study.

Study results
Results from the demography team revealed that age heaping was common among the elderly who can read, write, had completed school and had given a precise birthdate. This was surprising given that age heaping is usually associated with illiteracy and innumeracy. The results also showed that women heaped more as compared to men.

Age heaping, a form of misreporting of age is the tendency to report ages in round numbers, often numbers ending in 0 or 5, but sometimes other numbers are preferred or avoided.

Pictures of Ageing
In 2018, the University of Cambridge, in collaboration with the Academy for Health for Innovation conducted a multi disciplinary study to understand ageing in Uganda. The study combined demographic, phenotypic, social science & artistic methods in order to understand the picture of ageing in Wakiso district, Buskuma division.

An exhibition was held later that year showcasing the artworks produced by the established artists and older persons during the course of the project. The artworks are an expression of their perception of ageing in the community that not only allow different project stakeholders get insights into what the study has been able to find , but it was also an opportunity to showcase the different skills and talents that the older persons have.