Russian region trials foster care for elderly people
Since 2019, in the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug the guardianship authorities have appointed an assistant to lonely elderly people, who provides them with a family and takes care of them for an allowance of 10,000 rubles, Izvestia reports. In the cover letter from the Ministry of Labour there is a ‘portrait’ of a person who can be taken into a family: he/she must be a capable citizen (a woman over 55 years old, a man over 60 years old) living in this region ‘who due to health reasons cannot act upon and protect their rights and fulfil their duties independently’.
‘Not everyone will want a foster family’
According to Olga Glukhova, the president of the Sofia Charitable Foundation, it is necessary to try different types of social support for older people, but at the same time there must be a well-considered system. In particular, we are talking about the points of contact with the support family, their compatibility and supervision of their relationship to the elderly person.
According to the president of the foundation, volunteering for foster care in a nursing home can provide a model solution: this will help people to evaluate their strength sensibly. After the relationship between the candidate and the elderly person has developed, the psychologist will be able to confirm their compatibility.
‘With a nursing home, for example, you can sign an agreement first for six months. You can do the same here: first, a trial stay, when an elderly person comes to the family for the weekend or for a week,’ says Glukhova.
In a nursing home there is always public oversight, there are witnesses: neighbours, volunteers, employees. For home living, you need to create something similar to monitor relationships with the elderly person, their care and their psychological comfort. A professional psychologist can help in this – a specialist will be able to see the true picture of what is happening in the family, Glukhova asserts.
The allowance is small, the expert notes. At least in Moscow, the cost of a person in a nursing home is more than 10,000 rubles. It turns out that the state provides a very helpful system of ‘adoption’ for older people. However, according to Glukhova, not all elderly people will want to be in a foster family.
‘Some people like the nursing home because they are very well equipped: social circles, various events, communication. For some, the opposite is true: being in a nursing home is an existential fear,’ says the expert.