NGOs discuss improving care for older people

Remember, learn and care: NGOs mark International Day of Older Persons


The International Day of Older Persons was established at the 45th session of the UN General Assembly, and since 1991 has been observed annually on 1 October worldwide. Russian NGOs marked the celebration with Health Day, flashmobs and other events.

By 2025, according to the World Health Organisation, the number of people worldwide over the age of 60 will have doubled, and by 2050 will reach 2 billion, the majority of whom will live in low and middle income countries. According to data from the latest World Values Survey, no fewer than 60% of respondents believe that the elderly face disrespect, while those who feel they are a burden to others have lower self-esteem, putting them at risk of depression and social isolation.

“This confirms that negative attitudes towards the elderly are an extremely common phenomenon. And yet most people are completely unaware of holding subconscious stereotypes of older people”, emphasises John Beard, Director of the WHO’s Department of Ageing and Life Course. “As with racism and sexism, these norms are modifiable. It is time to stop judging people according to their age. This will contribute to prosperity, equality and public health”, the expert believes.

Every year through the International Day of Older Persons, governmental and non-governmental organisations raise awareness of prejudice against the elderly and seek to debunk the stereotypes associated with them.

The Ageing with Joy foundation proposed that users of social networks should use the hashtag #allaboutmygrandmother to share the stories, habits and family recipes of their grandmothers. Many well-known personalities joined in to share stories and photos, including the artist and TV presenter Evelina Bledans, the singer Rita Dakota, the figure skater Anastasia Grebenkina, the producer Snezhina Kulova, and the singer Sergei Penkin.

“In the photo is my grandmother Vera. She was the most beautiful girl in the city; everyone was in love with her. She made her own mascara and hairspray when such items weren’t available. She used curtains and tablecloths to make clothes from foreign magazines which she treated like the Bible. Having lost her beauty and youth, she shut herself at home like Vivien Leigh in Gone with the Wind. Her life was incredible and full of mystery. She will always remain in the memories of those who loved her as the most extraordinary and gracious woman. The last thing my grandmother said to me was ‘Rita, what terrible grey hair! You should be blonde, bright, six shades lighter!!’”, Rita Dakota said of her grandmother.

Ageing with Joy, together with the Orthodox aid service Mercy has begun training employees of nursing homes in professional care for elderly people.

In August and September 32 employees of Rzhev nursing homes and care assistants hired by the Ageing with Joy foundation from Vyazemsky, Velikoluksky and Tver District nursing homes attended courses on caring for immobile patients. As part of the training, which is led by practicing nurses from the Mercy service and teachers from the St Dimitry’s School for Sisters of Mercy, employees of residential care facilities discussed modern hygiene practices for bedridden patients and rules of moving patients.

“After years of work in nursing homes we know how important it is that nurses and carers in these establishments have up-to-date skills in caring for bedridden patients. The duration and quality of life of the elderly really depends on this”, says the head of the Ageing with Joy foundation Elizaveta Oleskina.

Ageing with Joy believes that regional nursing homes often suffer not only from a lack of knowledge about respite care, but also from a lack of staff. Therefore the Mercy service hopes to attract Sisters of Mercy to care for the most difficult patients in these nursing homes.

On 1 October the charitable foundation Artist held the latest Health Day in the Russian Gerontological Research and Clinical Centre, organising a celebration for its patients. It was attended by the co-founders of the Artist foundation, Evgenii Mironov and Mariya Mironova, actors, clowns, Moscow Ballet Theatre choreographer Aleksandra Rudik, and staff from the Artist foundation.

Elderly patients who were unable to leave their rooms were visited by actors and clowns. Theatre students held a performance in the centre’s lobby and corridors. Meanwhile those who were able participated in a specially choreographed programme mixing dance, yoga and therapeutic exercises.

“Everyone knows that physical activity increases immunity and helps to prevent many illnesses. Results of large studies confirm that physical exertion helps to maintain health and vitality for years to come. Physical activity improves wellbeing and as a result, changes attitudes to older age”, the Artist foundation emphasises.

Author: Irina Laktyushina


Get involved

Share This