Innovative social enterprise projects for older people in Russia
The heroes of the Agency for Social Information may be taking a well-earned rest but they are not sitting on their hands. They are looking after young children, getting involved in the creative arts, travelling, studying at the Sharp Mind Academy, doing voluntary work or simply socialising with friends. Their activities form part of a range of social enterprise projects or ‘acceleration programmes’ run by the Strategic Initiatives Agency and the Social Projects Foundation.
A network of co-working centres known as ‘Creative Workshops for the Silver Years’ has been set up with the aim of supporting older people. They come along to learn about the applied arts and develop skills to help them make the most of their leisure time or allow them to top up their income or feel that they are making a useful contribution. They learn to make souvenirs and do various kinds of arts and crafts. The project leaders organise exhibitions of their handiwork and help them find customers for them. Click here to find out more about the project – Узнать больше
‘Grandma for an hour’ («Бабушка на час») is a service that puts parents needing care for their children in touch with approved nannies in their area (grandmothers and grandfathers over the age of 45). It is a way of helping older people to earn some cash close to home. The founding head of ‘Grandma for an hour’, Natalia Linkova, has written a piece about how to choose a suitable nanny (как искать подходящую няню). Click here to find out more about the project – Узнать больше
The Well-Earned Rest project is designed for older people who enjoy travelling. Over the past five years they have visited conservation areas in Bulgaria, Turkey and the Crimean mountains, and in January they made a winter expedition to Kabardino-Balkaria. One of the project organisers, Yelena Alieva, describes how the trips help older people to socialise and address concerns about growing old. Click here to read her article about the project – Прочитать статью.
Commenting on the project, Inna Fomenko, Project Coordinator for the Centre for the Development of Social Technologies, said, ‘There is a pressing need to support older people in this way as the population ages and life expectancy continues to rise. Generally, the older generation are not used to spending money on their health and education. Our academy, which is designed to support and protect cognitive function, is an entirely new concept. We are pioneers in this field, challenging stereotypes about older people. Schemes like ours simply did not exist in the past.’
One of the centre’s projects, The Sharp Mind Memory Academy, was set up nearly four years ago to create opportunities that will allow older people in Moscow and the regions to realise their full potential. They are given help in finding jobs, using computers and getting involved in voluntary work. They are also taught how to protect their cognitive function and understand how their brains absorb, process and retain information. To find out more click here and read the article ‘Healthy mind and clear memory’ – в статье.
Everybody wants to live with dignity, at every stage of their life, but as we age it can become increasingly difficult, particularly when diseases start to affect our quality of life. Many older people worry about being a burden to their relatives while others have no relatives at all to care for them. For some the solution is to move into a private nursing home where they receive high quality care and enjoy the social contact of other residents. Click here to read the article ‘The secret to success is humanity – how Veliky Novgorod’s first private nursing home works.’ – в статье.