Quality of Life for the Older Generation: Programme Implementation

13 February 2019


Working actively with the older generation is one of the priorities of social support for the people

“Starting from 2020, the support for the regions will amount to 2 billion roubles; this is serious money that will enable us to provide a system for identifying the needs of senior citizens. It is the most important thing, which is not happening now: to ensure interaction with various services,” Maxim Topilin, Minister of Labour and Social Protection of the Russian Federation.

“The tasks of improving the quality of life for the older generation of Russia are reflected in the national project ‘Demography’ and in the federal project ‘Older generation’; they set very ambitious goals: increasing not only life expectancy, but also healthy life expectancy, reducing mortality, creating a system of continuous education,” Maria Morozova, General Director, Elena and Gennady Timchenko Charitable Foundation; Head of the section ‘Senior Generation’, Council of the Government of the Russian Federation on the Issues of Guardianship in the Social Sphere.

“All over the world, what is needed in order to build a palliative care system, is political will, above all. Without it, both palliative care and long-term care are random acts supported by enthusiastic people. Society must evolve in order to transform that into a system. It appears that in our country – I am not going as far as saying it has shaped up – it has started to emerge,” Nyuta Federmesser, Head, Moscow Multidisciplinary Center for Palliative Care of the Moscow City Health Department.

Caring for senior people’s quality of life benefits society

“We are starting to consider the social sphere to be an effective investment of funds, knowledge, technology, energy of the society in order to achieve palpable results,” Maria Morozova, General Director, Elena and Gennady Timchenko Charitable Foundation; Head of the section ‘Senior Generation’, Council of the Government of the Russian Federation on the Issues of Guardianship in the Social Sphere.


System of healthcare for the older generation is far from being perfect

“According to the data from late 2018, there are 500 specialists in geriatric medicine in our country, and we need 2,000 of them. For example, there are 8,000 geriatricians in the United States. The culture of geriatric care needs to be developed. Today, we are only getting started, unfortunately; we do not have much understanding of what geriatrics is, and even the name of this specialty is often mispronounced,” Olga Tkacheva, Director, Russian Gerontology Clinical Research Centre (RGNKC).

“As of today, 17% of people in our country never go to see a doctor, 54% see medical professionals only when it is an absolute necessity, 24% visit doctors regularly. That speaks volumes of certain problems, the main one of them being social psychology,” Eric Brovko, Founder and Investor, My Health platform; Deputy Chairman, Commission on Innovations and Informatization in Healthcare, Public Council of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation.

Pressing stereotypes that senior people are impossible to integrate into modern economic reality

“The society, as of today, is not ready to cooperate with the older generation, because none of our senior people believes it to be an infringement of their rights – the fact that they are not hired after they turn 50. Everyone thinks that this is normal, that this is just the way it is: ‘I am 50 already, so they do not want me anywhere’,” Sergey Katyrin, President, Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation.

“The major problem is that most people have this attitude that technology and senior people are the two things that for some reason cannot coexist, although this is absolutely not so,” Vadim Barausov, Executive Director, Project 60+, Association of Senior Citizen Services Industry Companies.


Developing infrastructure for a comfortable and safe living of the older generation

“The infrastructure that we now have for the senior citizens leaves much to be desired, and, of course, we should pay large attention to the quality of living in those places. This is also the subject of the national project,” Maxim Topilin, Minister of Labour and Social Protection of the Russian Federation.

“We must not create separate ghettos or segregate the older generation. They are a large part of our society, which should be integrated into the overall government policy,” Svetlana Chupsheva, General Director, Agency for Strategic Initiatives to Promote New Projects.

“As for the international experience, pension funds are among the investors in the infrastructure for the elderly, and they are involved in the creation of private retirement homes. In this regard, it is not only possible but necessary to develop public-private partnerships, and under concession agreements pension funds can invest fairly quickly to create new infrastructure for the senior people,” Evgeny Yakushev, Executive Director for Public and Government Relations, SAFMAR.

“An integrated approach to the use of high-quality infrastructure that can provide first-class services really works. No huge budgets or anything in particular from the Ministry of Labour or the Government is needed: that is what is in your hands,” Natalia Pochinok, Rector, Russian State Social University.

Introducing retraining and education programmes for senior citizens

“Starting next year, we will earmark 5 billion roubles for training people of pre-retirement age. It would seem that these are not the people who are over 80, 90 or 101 years old, but it is also a very important category of our citizens, who are experiencing certain changes due to adjustments in the pension system. It is important to support them,” Maxim Topilin, Minister of Labour and Social Protection of the Russian Federation.

Improving the quality of medical care

“First of all, we pay attention to the medical needs of this age group. And this is where several important projects are already being implemented. For example, we have medical patronage at home that has been going on for more than a year and a half. We are now starting to bring together social and medical patronage,” Anastasia Rakova, Deputy Mayor of Moscow for Social Development, Government of Moscow.

“Dementia does not occur suddenly, it gradually develops; and if a patient is provided with help a certain stage, this process may be stopped, slowed down and even reversed, in some sense. The Moscow Department of Health considered this, and without much informational support, the project of neurocognitive rehabilitation training ‘Memory Clinic’ was developing. It is a six-week course, which turned out to be very popular and effective; today, there are four of such clinics already, and we hope there will be more of them,” Georgy Kostyuk, Chief Physician, Alekseyev Psychiatric Clinical Hospital No. 1 of the Moscow City Health Department.

Developing volunteer movement and creating jobs for the older generation

“There is a specific mechanism that we implement together with the Memory of Generations Foundation. It is called ‘Silver Volunteering’, the ‘Young in heart’ programme. We create regional centres, we sponsor them, we provide resources and develop guidance materials for the aged. There is a contest to support grant projects so that senior people find specific things to do and work on the issues that are relevant to their professional skills. We now have 8,300 ‘silver volunteers’,” Artem Metelev, Chairman of the Council, Association of Volunteer Centers; Member of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation.

“It is important to be useful; elderly persons live as long as they feel valuable, and volunteering gives them this opportunity,” Yulia Maltseva, Director, Silver Years Interregional Resource Centre.

“There were 20 volunteer centres that we financed and opened. People provide various kinds of assistance: grandmother for an hour, competent consumer of utilities – that is also very important. They educate people and pass their skills on,” Ekaterina Kruglova, Managing Director, Memory of Generations Charity Foundation.

Preventing diseases and other problems of the seniors

“I would put the focus not on retirement, but on working age. Prevention at working age puts off the problems that arise at senior age, so education and training are extremely important,” Vladimir Khavinson, Director, St. Petersburg Institute of Bioregulation and Gerontology.

“Only by preserving the continuity of assistance at all stages, we can say that we improve the quality of life and, as a consequence, longevity”, Elizaveta Oleskina, Director, Charitable Foundation ‘Old Age for Joy’.

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