Quality of senior life discussed at forum in Sochi

Feb 15, 2019 at 11:40 • Older generation

The quality of senior life was discussed 13 February at the Forum entitled “The Healthy life Forum. Towards 80+”, which is taking place in Sochi, prefacing the Russian investment forum.

The experts at the session titled “Quality of Life for the Older Generation: Programme Implementation” discussed the package of issues related to the needs of the elderly, generational evolution of their needs, as well as a set of economic and social challenges to improving the quality of senior life. The session was moderated by Maria Morozova, managing Director of the Timchenko Foundation. When opening the session, she presented the UN’s forecast of 9 billion people living on Earth as early as 2050, 2 of whom over 60 years old, with the over-80s being the fastest-growing demographic. “For the first time in history, global population growth is driven by increasing life expectancy, and this is probably the fulfilment of the dream of a longer life,” said Maria Morozova. “Ageing and old age are what is in store for all of us, and the way people are ageing in Russia today affects the way society and the government are perceived not only by the current generation of the elderly but also by the younger generations. Looking at the way their relatives are ageing, they start thinking about their plans for life at that age, and specifically, whether they are willing to live and age in this country.”

Мария Морозова | Maria Morozova

Maksim Topilin, Minister of Labour and Social Protection of the Russian Federation, said that the goal is for the long-term elderly care solutions trialled in pilot regions to become common practice by 2022. The needs of the elderly have been identified — this has not yet been implemented; the system operates on an application basis, but it is pilot projects that will make it possible to change this. The minister said in his contribution that aid for provinces will be 2 billion roubles starting 2020. And the federal ministry will allocate 5 billion next year for the training of pre-retirement citizens. According to the minister, the programme will also make a contribution to increasing life expectancy, which is influenced by new knowledge and skills.

The capital’s achievements in increasing the length and quality of life were outlined by Anastasia Rakova, Anastasia Rakova, mayor of Moscow’s envoy to the Government of Moscow for social policies. These days, the estimated life expectancy in the region is as high as 78 years, and according to forecasts, the capital residents who are 65 today will live another 21 years – as long as the residents of countries leading in terms of this indicator. Anastasia Rakova said that today’s pensioner is the most active Muscovite, who knows his way around the internet and uses the cultural, social and banking infrastructure. The senior way of life has changed in the capital: 5 to 10 years ago, the core support requirement was financial; today, new institutions are needed for the social well-being of pensioners. Moscow’s roadmap for an active senior lifestyle has seen good results achieved due to the use of high-tech medical solutions, digitization of public health service, integration of health care and social services and implementation of health improvement programmes. The Moscow Longevity Programme, which will be one in March, sponsors 8,000 interest groups, which have been attended by more than 200,000 enrollees. Among these are also newly-weds – the programme beneficiaries registered 13 marriages over the year

Moscow’s achievements were highlighted by Svetlana Chupsheva, head of Strategic Initiatives Agency, who stressed that it was important for the agency that active senior lifestyle practices be followed elsewhere. Other areas of focus for the agency are support for mentoring and development of tourism and cultural programmes for the elderly.

The metropolitan achievements were also discussed by Nyuta Federmesser, head of Moscow Multi-Discipline Palliative Care Centre. She said that, the changes notwithstanding, palliative care was not yet available to all those who needed it. Among important innovations, Federmesser singled out the creation of a comprehensive system for patient management and quality control. She emphasized that the home assistance service now offers 24/7 response in Moscow. “We are the only state in the country where in-home assistance is available 7 days a week. Elsewhere in this country, home assistance providers work 9 to 5 Monday to Friday. This is absurd! People continue, you know, dying at weekends and at night too,” Nyuta Federmesser appealed to her colleagues in attendance from other states. “Palliative care is not in building hospices but in the hands of those who provide it,” Nyuta emphasized in her contribution.

Olga Tkachova, head of the Russian Gerontology Clinical Research Centre, urged to “ignore those who tell you that you must expect to ache all over when you are 80. This is ageism, which is a stereotype with our physicians.” According to Olga Tkachova, patients themselves often shy from seeking relief for age-related health problems. This state of affairs is expected to change following the establishment of a geriatrics system in this country, among other things. Last year saw a pro standard already put in place for geriatricians. According to Tkachova, geriatrics is predicated on its own diagnostic criteria, treatment philosophy and methods, and a fundamental principle of the emerging system is its focus on the individual rather than the other way round.

Another stereotype was discussed by Elizaveta Oleskina, head of “Enjoyable Aging“ Charitable Foundation. The results of the pilot year of the project to implement a long-term care system show that in the provinces assistance is offered to bedridden patients, while those senior citizens who are prone to falling will “fend for themselves”. Yet only 10% of people eligible for long-term elderly care are bedridden. Elizaveta Oleskina urged not to forget the other 90% of people in need of care or their families.

The panellists also talked about volunteering as a means of socialization in the third age, about the use of state-of-the-art information technology, about the fact that human health largely depends on the way of life chosen.

On the whole, the session demonstrated the most important thing – our society is witnessing the emergence of a new culture of ageing and the establishment of a new system of government support for the elderly, which will be geared to the different requirements and expectations of old people from different generations in Russia.