Caring for Older People in the Post-Soviet Space: The Case of Russia

Oksana Parfenova


In this article, we analyze eldercare in the post-Soviet space on the example of Russia. Our research questions are: How transforming the care arrangements of older adults in the post-soviet state? How do the transforming care arrangements affect the agency of the elderly? The materials for the analysis were qualitative interviews with older people, social workers, and experts from Russia (N= 31), as well as statistics and legal acts. The care arrangements of older adults are undergoing significant transformations, which we can express in two distinct trends. The first is the drift away from a state and family monopoly of caring for the older people to a mixed model. New forms of care and providers are emerging: NGOs; business organizations; foster families for older people; specially equipped apartments; private nursing homes The informal care sector is developing thanks to paid caregivers from among neighbors, migrants (both external and internal). The second trend is that in practice, care can often be “layered” in nature. Relatives, public services, non-profit organizations, paid staff can take care of the same person at the same time. These trends expand the repertoire of care scenarios and make the choice more flexible for the older person and increase their agency.


aging; care; agency; informal care; social services;

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ISSN: 2062-087X

DOI: 10.14267/issn.2062-087X