Saturday, November 30, 2019

Russia’s Elderly Increasingly Consigned to Inadequate For Profit Homes

Paul Goble

            Staunton, November 26 – The breakdown in family ties and the collapse of social supports as part of Putin’s various “optimization” policies mean that at ever larger number of elderly Russians are living in filthy and inadequate homes run by the private sector for profit, according to Nataliya Ryzhkova of the Life portal.

            More than 60 percent of Russians in all age groups believe that the state should be responsible for the housing of the elderly, but government homes for this cohort are “very few.” As a result, she says, many are forced into places where profit is more important than care (общество/1256602/odinochiestvo_i_ghriaz_kak_piensioniery_vyzhivaiut_v_domakh_priestarielykh).

            There are good privately-operated homes for the elderly in Russia, but they are few and far between and most cost more than 2000 rubles (30 US dollars) a day, far beyond the means of the pensioners or their families if the latter are disposed to help at all. Most are kept in cheaper and less adequate facilities.

            A major problem is that there is no registration required or monitoring system in place. As a result, anyone who wants to operate such a home can do so and can decide what to supply and how many people to pack into a room. In some of these facilities, there are beds right next to each other, no privacy, no soap and no toilet paper.

            There is no requirement that anyone operating the home have medical training and most don’t, Ryzhkova says. Moreover, many such homes are located far from hospitals; and medical care comes only often with great delays. In almost every case, those in these facilities are charged extra for it. If they don’t’ have money, they won’t get care.

            At present, the journalist says, there are “approximately 1500” government homes for the elderly. The exact number of private homes is unknown. Many open and close without notice, and there is no registration system that allows for these changes to be tracked or for standards to be maintained.

            The major operators of such homes are making enormous profits, Ryzhkova says; but the inmates – and it would be wrong to describe them in any other way – are suffering, one more group of Russians in Putin’s time whose problems are being ignored in the name of efficiency and private profit.

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