Help for self-isolating elderly people in Moscow

Elderly Muscovites in self-isolation: how people are helping the at-risk group


Elderly Muscovites, for whom the Coronavirus is most dangerous, are being asked to stay at home during the pandemic. People with chronic illness are particularly vulnerable. ASI is collecting information about people who are helping elderly people to minimise their risk of contracting the virus.

Neighbourly volunteering

Dobro is proposing to all residents of Moscow who want to help their elderly neighbours to print posters and pin them up in entrances to blocks of flats. These would call on elderly citizens not to leave their homes, but to ask the listed local volunteer for anything they need by putting a note in their letter box. The volunteers buy food and medicines and leave them at the person’s door.

Support centres for helping elderly people

In 12 regions – Krasnodar, Krasnoyarsk, Perm, Leningrad, Kaliningrad, Kemerovo, Belgorod, Lipetsk, Nizhny Novgorod, Moscow and Murmansk, and in St Petersburg – from 17 March support centres opened for elderly residents who need to stay at home because of the virus. Volunteers from the All-Russian public movement ‘Volunteer Doctors’ and the Association of Volunteer Centres will buy food and medicines requested by elderly people and also pet food for their pets, cleaning products and will provide help with light tasks in their homes. Requests are accepted on the website of the All-Russian People’s Front (ONF) and through a mobile phone app called ‘ONF Help’. The initiators of the project promise that they will also open phone hot lines for such requests. To find out how to become a volunteer, there is information via this link.

Moscow Long Life is on holiday

The Moscow Long Life Project (a sort of U3A) has temporarily stopped its classes for pensioners. The organisers are asking over-60s to stay at home and to continue there the studies they were following in the project: drawing, language learning, physical exercise. They will be informed when the project starts again.

‘Don’t Forget’ is closed

The Altsrus Foundation which helps people with Alzheimer’s has had to close its ‘Don’t Forget’ café. This is where family meetings can be held by elderly people with dementia and their relatives and friends, in a restful environment where they can relax in a comfortable and safe place, in Moscow, St Petersburg and Saratov. All meetings in March have been postponed. ‘At our meetings, people hug and dance, which is important! So we are trying to follow the safety rules so as not to put our guests in a dangerous situation’, the Foundation said.

Restrictions on visits

Organisations which arrange for volunteers to visit elderly people at home are limiting such visits. The Foundation “Age and Fun” (Starost i Radost) has organised a special video conference on how to record a video message for elderly people and people with disabilities who live in care homes. This is a completely safe way for the foundation’s clients and will help them to feel less forgotten.


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