Home |  Elder Rights |  Health |  Pension Watch |  Rural Aging |  Armed Conflict |  Aging Watch at the UN  


Mission  |  Contact Us  |  Internships  |    


   Back to Current Articles





1998 - 2002









Rural Aging Issues
around the World

- Archives 2005 to 2007 -

Articles in Arabic | Chinese | French | Russian | Spanish


Cameroon: Mrs. Beboi Kuta Kala-Lobe, “Older Persons Are Abandoned” (February 22, 2007)
(Article in French)
The President of Mupac (the Friendly Society of Older Cameroonians) gives an overview on the situation for the elderly in Cameroon, whether they live in urban or rural areas. Because of unending movement of the population, older persons living in cities cannot rely on a social network. Although health centers are located in cities, they usually are built in the suburbs, far from downtown. In the country, older persons benefit from assistance by families that have kept up some traditional values and offer mutual support.

Mozambique: Renamo Disinformation On Pensions in Nampula (January 3, 2007)
Renamo, a former rebel movement in Mozambique, used to carry out “disinformation campaigns” during what they called a “war of destabilization” against the government. In some cases these campaigns had a prejudicial effect on older persons, especially in some isolated regions of Mozambique. For example, older persons didn’t receive any pension for some time because Renamo had told them that “this money was just a bribe to persuade them to join the ruling Frelimo party.”

Tanzania: Nearly 8,600 Old People Killed Because of Sorcery (August 29, 2006)
(Article in French)
The drought raging around Lake Victoria has triggered interethnic struggles once again. Older people are the first victims, particularly women. Considered witches, old women are blamed for making living conditions worse. Mr.Magodi, the president of the Coalition for the Elderly (COEL), wants to raise public awareness of the “juridical and social impact of all those murders,” in particular, the risk of ending an inter-generational link that is essential in Africa to maintain its cultural and moral traditions.

Zimbabwe: Rural Zimbabweans Hit By Health Crisis (April 21, 2006)
President Mugabe’s land reform program is taking a disastrous toll on the health of rural Zimbabweans and local farm workers. The government currently resettles rural families onto commercial farms, displacing farmers from their homes. The farms are without clean water, electricity, and local health facilities. According to the Farm Community Trust of Zimbabwe (FCTZ), “…nine out of ten farm workers had to walk more than 20 km [12.4 miles] to get to the nearest clinic, contrary to government policy that no one should have to travel more than 8 km [5 miles].” In addition, rural farm communities are the hardest hit by HIV/AIDS in Zimbabwe. Older persons’ needs must be addressed in community development programs considering many elders care for AIDS orphans and most cannot walk twelve miles to receive health care.

Namibia: The Plight of Grandparents as Caretakers (March 22, 2006)
(Article in Spanish)
The HIV/AIDS pandemic affects all family members, especially children and older adults. In Namibia, mostly in rural areas, grandparents take responsibility for their orphaned grandchildren. A 2004 UN study shows that grandparents, particularly grandmothers, care for 75% of the 156,000 orphans in rural Namibia. The government provides subsidies and small pensions to grandparents; however, older persons in rural areas are isolated and do not have easy access to social and economic support. The international community and local governments are slowly recognizing the key role that grandparents take in looking after HIV/AIDS orphans. Still, significant effort needs to be made to acknowledge and incorporate grandparents and older persons, in general, into development projects. 

Burkina Faso: Taking Care of the Elderly: "When Solidarity Collapses" (September 23, 2005) 
(Article in French) 
The organization "generation solidaire" from Burkina Faso struggles against the isolation of the rural elderly. The organization fights against age discrimination. For instance, the banks of Burkina Faso generally refuse loans to clients who are over 50 years old. The organization encourages the people from Burkina Faso to return to the tradition of the "old and wise." It denounces the fact that old people have lost their historic role in cities. As a matter fact, cities are dangerous and not friendly to the elderly. That's why the organization, dealing with rural ageing, encourages safer transportation to the cities.

Namibia: Securing Property for Rural Widows and Their Children (July 11, 2005)
Widows in the African country of Namibia are reclaiming their rights. Subsequent to years of being dispossessed of their homes and assets following the deaths of their spouses, new legislation is being passed to protect what's rightfully theirs- including land and livestock. Traditionally, common practice is to have a close male relative take the name of the deceased, claiming everything in the name of the deceased as well. Women compose the majority of the population of the country- roughly 51 percent of Namibia's population of 1.9 million, is female, yet male traditional chiefs continue to dominate all major sectors of society. Although the rights of these women are being strengthened, they are still far from desirable. These laws are being put into place, but will they be effectively followed? 

Ethiopia: The Human Cost of Tourist Dollars (January 2005)
The grasslands of the Nechasar National Park in southern Ethiopia are a wildlife paradise, but the huts of the people who formerly lived on this land are empty. A reported two thousand families have been forced to leave their homes and relocate outside the boundaries of the Park to accommodate the development of the park by a Netherlands-based foundation. But their new land is already occupied and cut off from health care, schools and city. Isn't there a better way to treat human beings' lives and protect flora and fauna?

Americas & Caribbean 

Chile: UN Lawsuit: “Environmental Racism” Against Mapuche Communities (January 10, 2007)
(Article in Spanish)
“Environmental Racism” affects the lifestyle and health conditions of Mapuche elders, according to the Community Coordination in Conflict with socio-environmental Issues. Consequently, the agency filed suit against the Chilean government through the UN Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Their allegations indicate discrimination against Mapuche communities in public policy and politic making, which isolate these communities and makes them vulnerable targets in environmental planning. For example, public and private investments facilitate and allow all water treatment plants in Chile to produce and discard chemical waste only in areas where Mapuche live. The lawsuit awaits review from February 19th to March 9th in Geneva.

Mexico: One Older Person for Every 8 Individuals by 2030 (October 29, 2006)
(Article in Spanish)
Knowing that the aging population in Tamuliapa is estimated to be one older person for every eight persons in 2030, the Mexican government has begun to take action. Presently, the region’s residents lack adequate resources and knowledge to take care of the elderly. Consequently, they view older individuals as economic burdens, abandoning, forgetting and marginalizing them. Taking into perspective the current situation, ISSSTE (Institute for Social Security Services for State Workers) opened the National School on Aging Studies that has mobilized over 15 thousand health and social work professionals. ISSSTE seeks to reach the older indigenous community by teaching otomí language courses to medical professionals and by facilitating courses to family members responsible for providing care.

Mexico: State of the Old, Veracruz (October 26, 2006)
(Article in Spanish) 
The older population in Veracruz will increase to 1.5 million in 2030 and to an estimated 2 million by 2050. CIESAS, the Center for Research and Superior Studies in Social Anthropology wants to create social programs that will meet the needs and hopes of future generations. Local experts worry about this rapid growth. At present, some 75% of the elderly do not receive the legislated pension of 500 pesos per month. Without a pension, older people cannot buy food. They get malnourished and fall sick. Despite ailments, older Veracrucians do not seek medical guidance but rather get informal help from curanderos and pharmacists, or self-medicate. 

Asia Pacific

China: Let The Elderly in Rural Areas Enjoy Health Care (December 12, 2007)
(Article in Chinese)
Huai He, a North Bank town in An Hui province, now has about 383 elderly people. However, only 46 people (12%) live at the elderly home center. Because of poor room conditions, the small number of beds and low standard of living at the center, the majority receive their health care elsewhere. The number of men at the center overwhelms that of women: only 7 women and 39 men. The standard subsidy for institutional care for the elderly is RMB 1,500 per person per year. For home-care elderly, it is RMB 1,200. This is low compared to the actual standard of living, and even lower than the international standard for developing countries (60% and 48%, respectively). 

Report: Thailand: Migration and Intergenerational Solidarity: Evidence from Rural Thailand (September 2007)
The publication examines the impact of out-migration from rural areas in Thailand on intergenerational solidarity. As young adults from rural areas move to towns and cities, Thailand offers an interesting example to examine the implications of migration for maintaining relationships among family members of different generations. Contrary to some alarmist views in Thailand, migration of adult children has not yet led to widespread desertion of rural elderly.

Bangladesh: Bangladesh Toll at More Than 3,000 (November 20, 2007)
The Bangladesh government said on November 19, 2007 , that a powerful cyclone killed more than 3,000 people. The United Nations estimates that a million people have been left homeless. Many people live in rural areas and have no direct access to predictable food supplies. Usha Mishra, a senior adviser at the United Nations World Food Program, said that food supplies had been severely disrupted and that the people risked famine.

China: Farmers of 60 Years or Older Receive “Pension for Retirement” (July 22, 2007)
(Article in Chinese)
Farmers in Dongjie Village, Hongqiao Town, Leqing City, Zhejiang Province will receive a “pension for their retirement” once they reach the age of 60. Dongjie Village has 677 older people age 60 or above, 320 of which are farmers. These farmers have no income security during old age because they are not eligible for any social security benefits. Since 1993, Dongjie Village has provided a monthly pension to these 320 older persons. At first, the amount was only 15 Yuan per month per person, but it has increased as the village gradually increased its budget. Beginning in 2001, every farmer receives 503 Yuan per month, and the system has been gradually transformed into a farmer’s “pension” system.

China: Rural Areas Experiencing Slow Progress in Pension Reform; Farmers Worry About “Getting Old Before Becoming Rich” (July 19, 2007)

(Article in Chinese)
The July issue of a Japanese magazine, “Japanese Banking Financial Critique Monthly,” reports on China’s pension reform. The author points out that China has been reforming its pension system in an effort to be better prepared for the onset of an aging society. However, the author argues that many reform policies only apply to urban areas and reform in rural areas has not made any progress. Since a huge gap exists between the urban and rural areas in terms of progress toward pension reform, the report said that “China’s rural areas will likely face aggravated poverty due to the advent of an aging society.”

China: Traditional Family Old Age Care Facing Challenges; New Rural Pension System Needed to Meet the Demand (July 6, 2007)
(Article in Chinese)
On July 3, 2007, officials from 10 provincial social security agencies and social insurance experts attended the National Unified Social Security System for Urban and Rural Areas in Chengdu, Sichuan. The current social security system for rural areas suffers from low participation rates and low contribution rates. As a result, some areas in Chengdu started pilot programs to explore a new system for farmers. The new system requires investments from the government which helps motivate the farmers to participate.

China’s First Case: A Rural Worker Uses Civil Law to Win Her Pension Back (April 14, 2007)
(Article in Chinese)
In recent years, legal rights of rural workers have received growing attention in China. “Rural workers” refers to those born in rural farming areas who migrated to nearby towns or cities for work as laborers. Typically hired with low wages and no fringe benefits, these workers have had no legal entitlement to the social security system’s pension benefit. Take the example of Ms. Li Liangli, such a rural worker who worked in a Zhengzhou agrochemical factory for 26 years. Since the company hired her as a temporary worker without signing a labor contract, it refused to pay her any pension at the time she was let go by the factory in the name of “reaching the retirement age.” Ms. Li filed suit against her company, finally winning her case based on the grounds stipulated in Civil Law. Her case set the precedent of rural workers’ right to receive pensions. However, experts and lawyers point out that legal suits, such as this, will not be solve the problem entirely. The government needs to establish legal regulations on rural workers’ entitlement to pensions.

South Korea: Korea’s Rural Provinces ‘Aging’ Rapidly (February 23, 2007)
Imsil, a county in the south of the country, has the highest number of residents over 65 years old. Populations in rural areas, especially those where agriculture is the main activity, grow old faster than the national average. In Imsil, 33.8% are older persons. Because of these figures, the population there is described as an “ultra-aging society.” More and more agricultural regions in South Korea face concerns about aging because the numbers of younger generations are not enough to counter this imbalance.

China: Poor Rural Elderly Deserve Attention (December 3, 2006)
With the massive rural exodus of young people in China, the old customs, such as the obligation to venerate and care for the elderly, are breaking down. Older people living in the countryside cannot depend on an adequate pension or health care system that is available to those living in the big cities. This crisis endangers Chinese traditional values: last year more than 2,000 rural parents sued their children for support. At this point, the writer suggests that the government, due to financial reasons, will not act in favor of seniors’ rights or to establish a comprehensive rural pension system. 

China: Old-age Insurance in China (March 2, 2006)
(Article in Arabic)

China has established a new old-age social security system in rural areas. This new system is part of China's social policy to reach older persons in rural areas who have been left behind due to rural-urban migration. The procedures and statistics of this system were presented at the Second National Conference on Old Age in

India: India Sets Goals of Rural Aid and Education (March 1, 2006)
In most countries older persons are left behind in rural areas while youth and working adults move to cities for greater financial opportunities. Rural-urban migration has left many older persons alone, poor, and without opportunities in the countryside. As India's coalition government promises greater spending on rural infrastructure, health care and education one can hope that a budget for the "common man" will address the needs of all people, including older persons.

China: Wealth Grows, but Health Care Withers in China (January 14, 2006)

In the past fifty years China has experienced a rapid expansion of wealth and public health achievements. Unfortunately, this has led to greater gaps between health care in the cities and rural areas. At present, the government is failing to provide adequate health care in rural areas, forcing families to make desperate choices in regards to health and poverty. With rising costs even the minimal payment is too much for most people. 

Thailand: Rural Population Ageing and Farm Structure (October 2005)

(Articles in English and French and Report in English)

This report of the Food and Agriculture Organization describes how rural aging transforms agricultural structures. The question open to its authors is whether  old farmers and young farmers cultivate the land in the same way. The report also highlights some striking statistical gender differences in agricultural activities for example about debts, property, and many other topics.

India: NCOP Recommends Maintenance from Children for Elderly (September 27, 2005)
India, home to the second largest elderly population in the world, sees 80% of them live in rural areas and a majority in poverty. Up until now, it has been difficult to support these senior citizens. However, Social Justice and Empowerment Minister, Meria Kumar, announced that the Central Model Legislation for Older Persons (NCOP) is aimed to ensure minimum level of financial security, provision of old age pension, and setting up of at least one old age home in each district and a geriatric ward in each district hospital. One provision would allow parents to sue their children for support. Twelve states have expressed their support for the bill so far. Better health care and financial security help a lot of elderly, particularly in rural area!

China: Rural Pension System Needed (September 26, 2005)
The Chinese government is concerned about the financial needs of the elderly that live in rural areas. Survey's show that elderly make up 10% of the population; 70% of them live in rural areas and 27.6% of the elderly living in rural areas live alone depending on their income from their small farms to meet financial expenses. Since the elderly that work on the farm usually do not own the land, they cannot transfer the land to the government to receive any pension. Recently, the Chinese government has put into effect a rural endowment insurance system and cities have also started a social security system. Zhang Zaisheng, who is a Professor at Tianjin University, wants the government to focus on meeting the financial needs of the elderly in the rural areas by calculating their necessary spending. The government and the farmers would share the payments for the insurance. How will this help the poorest who can't pay their share? 

China: China to Reward Rural Elderly with "Only One Child or Two Daughters (June 9, 2005)
According to Pan Guiyu, vice minister in charge of the National Population and Family Planning Commission, China will institutionalize the trial practice of rewarding financially elderly who have had only one child or two daughters. This pilot project will help China maintain a low birth rate and set up a system beneficial for those who practice the family planning policy. Last year, Chinese government initiated the program and gave a cash payment of no less than 600 yuan (US $72) on an annual basis to the rural elderly in 5 provinces and 10 cities. This year, the program will be extended to 23 provinces, 12 counties in Tibet and 22 cities or counties in east China's Shandong Province.

Australia: Rural Women at High Risk for Depression (June 2, 2005)
Psychologists have recently pinpointed women living in a rural setting as being susceptible to developing a mood disorder, such as chronic depression. External influences such as failing crops, drought and the state of the rural economy, can lead to despair within the rural family unit, and can be especially hard on the women. Rural women very often find themselves worrying about a great number of things and may put themselves last, inevitably resulting in mental illness. Women who may find themselves in this situation are urged to seek medical attention.

Thailand: Rural Parents with Urban Children: Social and Economic Implications of Migration on the Rural Elderly in Thailand (April 2005)
The goal of the study is to explore the circumstances in Thailand under which the migration of rural adult children to urban areas takes place. The study gives attention to how parents and their situation influence these decisions, and the consequences for the social and economic well-being of parents who remain behind in the rural areas after the children leave. 

Australia: High Suicide Rates for Rural Elderly (May 2, 2005)
The highest suicide and depression rate in Australia claims older men living in rural areas. In fact, it is easy to understand the reasons. Isolation because of their geographic situation, absence of children who left to find a jobs in urban areas, loss of friends and partners who have died, the elderly face hard emotional and material living conditions even when they are not sick, disabled and poor. 

China: Rural Chinese Riot as Police Try to Halt Pollution Protest (April 14, 2005) 
Thousands of people, including many elderly women, rioted Sunday in a village in southeastern China, overturning police cars and driving away officers who had tried to stop elderly villagers from protesting against pollution from nearby factories, witnesses said Wednesday.

South Korea: Elderly Farmer Passes Driving Test on 272nd Attempt (April 14, 2005) 
According to the North Gyeongsang Provincial Police Agency's Driver's License Examination Office in South Korea, a nearly 70-year-old farmer from a rural village finally passed the academic part of the examination of the driver's license after 271 failures! Seo Sang-moon started to try the exam in August 2000. Until then, he didn't apply for the written examination because he is illiterate. But since 2000 when the oral exam was introduced, Mr. Seo was able to apply. He is now preparing for the road test. GAA has followed the driving issues for older persons because a license is almost a lifeline for rural elderly. Good luck, Seo!

China: Family Planning Aid Helps Elderly (April 11, 2005)
To encourage the rural young couples and thank the retired ones, the Chinese government established a pension support for farmers who reach 60 and who respected the maternity policy of child restriction. Thanks to this income, elderly don't have to worry about their future or count on their children to take care of them.

Nepal: Focus on the Impact of the Conflict on Rural Health (February 28, 2005) 
The ongoing internal conflict in Nepal between the government of Kathmandu and the Maoists rebels has fatal results for the people who live in the rural areas. Rural inhabitants, including elderly, do not have access to health care anymore since the rebels attack the porters of medicines and food to supply the rebel army and threaten doctors and nurses living in these areas.

China: There Is Breakthrough in Extending the Social Protection System to Farm Workers; This Year (2005) They Will Enjoy Access to Social Protection (January27, 2005)
(Article in Chinese)
Guiyang - Farm workers have been outside the social protection and assistance system, but they contribute greatly to the booming Chinese economy. These farmers look forward to enjoying access to social protection. This development is particularly welcome because western China contains the largest population living in poverty.

Europe and Central Asia

Russia: Perm Region Places Elderly People into Host Families (December 18, 2007)

(Article in Russian)
Perm region, Russia, is implementing a project that aims to help the neglected elderly find the support and care they need. The project places senior citizens into host families and provides hosts with monthly allowances to take care of the senior citizens. Some 125 families already have agreed to host the seniors in their homes. The Department of Social Development carefully manages the host family selection process and continues its supervision even after the pensioners are placed into their new homes. 


Russia: “The University of the Third Age” Opens in Pskov, Russia (December 13, 2007)

(Article in Russian)
The University for Older Persons opens in Pskov region and aims at keeping senior citizens involved and active in today’s life by expanding and sharing their knowledge on various issues. The University offers classes on law, health, gardening, Pskov history and Orthodox studies for seniors. The classes are free of charge and open to all the senior citizens. 


Russia: Thirty-nine Senior Citizens in Abkhazia are Over 100 Years of Age (December 12, 2007) 
(Article in Russian)

Thirty-nine senior citizens in Abkhazia, Russia, are over 100 years of age. One of them is Raisa Arsalia, 115 years old, who has 38 grand- and grand grand children. Born in 1882, she was among the first ones in her village to receive a passport. Despite her age, Raisa feels very well and has good eyesight.


Russia: Krasnoyarsk Implements “The Older Generation” Project in 2008-2010. (December, 11, 2007)

(Article in Russian)

The government of Krasnoyarsk, Russia, has launched “The Older Generation” program aiming to organize social events for the elderly and provide them with financial support. The city officials plan to implement the program over three years and invest RUB 26.1 million rubles for its realization. 


Ireland: ‘Isolation’ Blamed for 30 Percent Jump in Suicides by Elderly (November 12, 2007)
From 2000 to 2005, suicide rates among isolated Irish elderly living in rural areas have increased by 30 percent. The Samaritans, a leading charity in Ireland, reported a corresponding increase in calls to their hotline from elderly isolated from friends and family who have little time for their older relatives. The social and physical isolation of elders has been attributed to the rapid pace of social change, a result of families moving into urban areas to work and take up residence. This change in family structure has led to loneliness and depression among elders, which is usually a precursor to suicide. 


Russia:  Fire in Russian Home for Elderly Kills 31 (November 5, 2007)

(Article in Russian)
Thirty-one people died in a fatal fire at an elderly home in Tula, Russia. The city officials blamed the institution for a late fire alert and inadequate attention to fire safety. The elder nursing home had neither a fire alarm system nor equipment to combat the fire. Earlier this year in June, another fire killed 10 people in a Russian home for elderly living in the Omsk region. A few months earlier, a devastating fire broke out at a home for elderly and disabled in a southern Russian village killing 62 people. It took an hour for the firefighters to arrive and some older persons could not escape on their own because they were confined to their beds.


Ireland: Sign of Changing Ireland: Rural Elderly Seek Human Contact from Security Firms (October 31, 2007)

Isolated elderly people in rural areas in Ireland ring their personal alarms because they want to talk to someone. That is what a leading security company, Task Security and Community Care affirms: Some 700 to 800 alarms a week go off  with more than 80 percent originating  from isolated elderly people wanting to talk. This is the reality of desperation for elderly people living alone in rural Irish areas.


Russia: More than 1,500 Pensioners Participate in “My Age is My Wealth” Arts Festival (July 23, 2007)
(Article in Russian)
A month-long festival-exhibition with a proud slogan “My Age is My Wealth” finished this Monday in Russia’s Penza Oblast. More than 1,500 older people participated. They performed songs and dances and displayed hand-made articles, helping to maintain and promote Russia’s traditional arts and crafts. The participants said they took away positive emotions and new friendships cultivated during the festival.

Russia: Chief of Altai Region Administration Opens a Nursing Home for the Elderly (July 17, 2007)
(Article in Russian)
Chief of the Altai region administration Alexander Karlin participated in the opening of a small nursing home for elderly people of the Egoryevsky area. “One of the priorities in domestic politics of today’s Russia is helping and supporting the socially vulnerable groups, including the elderly—those who gave their work, health and talents to ensure the development of our country,” Karlin said at the inauguration of the nursing home. “It is the duty of the state to take care of such people and reward them for all they’ve done.”

Russia: Sports Town for Everyone (July 10, 2007)
(Article in Russian)
The village administration of Ilyinskoe, Chuvashia (European part of the Russian Federation), created a park with facilities for all generations. The elderly will be able to rest on the benches or play chess in the shadow of newly planted trees. In another Chuvash village, the elderly gathered for the traditional “nime”-- collective, free labor with the aim of mutual help among neighbors. However, for the majority of older persons in rural areas of Russia, similar activities are a short respite in their life of deprivation.

Russia: 90-Year-Old Finds a Bride in a Marriage Agency (June 9, 2007)
(Article in Russian)
When 90-year-old Gilyautdin Khisamov came to a marriage agency to find a bride, the “matchmakers” decided he was looking for a nearby pharmacy. But one month later, after rejecting several options, Khisamov met his would-be bride in the agency’s corridor. 

Kyrgyzstan: Resource Center for the Elderly Opens a Bakery (June 7, 2007)
(Article in Russian)
A new resource center for the elderly opened a bakery in a village in eastern Kyrgyzstan. The village residents can now buy cheap, fresh bread. The resource center also offers a micro-credit program to the elderly who wish to start a small business. Some of the clients make and sell felt and fabric souvenirs; others mend fellow villagers’ old furniture. 

Azerbaijan: The Oldest Person on Earth Lives in Azerbaijan (June 6, 2007)
(Article in Russian)
The Red Crescent Society noted that 40 people older than 100 live in Zardab region of Azerbaijan. The RCS made this fact public at an event aimed at improving the quality of life for the elderly. Azerbaijan is also home to a person assumed to be the oldest person on earth: 127-year-old Beyaz Khalilova. 

Russia: Elder People’s Festival to Take Place in Penza Oblast (June 5, 2007)
(Article in Russian)
Elderly people in Penza Oblast in Russia will take part in a festival that starts on June 26. The purpose of the festival is to encourage elderly participation in creative, social and cultural activities. The organizers also seek to ensure that the elderly will hand down local traditions to younger generations.

Russia: Elderly People’s Theater Opens in Khakassia (May 22, 2007)
(Article in Russian)
A theater of elderly people recently opened in Khakassia, an autonomous republic in central Siberia. The actors, the majority older than 70, have so far staged one play about the everyday realities of the elderly in the village of Maina. They promise to prepare a musical by September.

Russia: Agricultural Workers Most Vulnerable (May 21, 2007)
(Article in Russian)
According to a Pskov pension fund regional manager in Russia, almost 300 businesses in the region fail to make the obligatory social security contribution toward the employees’ future pensions. Because of this, more than 4,000 workers, mostly employees of agricultural companies, will be unable to claim the social security part of the pension. More than 70,000 pensioners in the Pskov region currently receive a monthly pension of less than $100. Another 6,000 live on the minimum amount of $62/month.

Russia: Official Cheats World War II Veterans (May 16, 2007)
(Article in Russian)
The Court in the Russian province of Omsk will try its former deputy chief of local administration on charges of negligence and power abuse. According to investigators, the official failed to prevent the embezzlement of funds that were designated for repair and renovation of World War II veterans’ homes. 

Russia: 43 Dead in an Elderly Home Identified (March 20, 2007)
(Article in Russian)
A fire broke out in a nursing home on the night of March 20, killing 62 people. Remains of 19 of them are yet to be identified. All 35 survivors are reported to be in good health. The nursing home’s administration will be prosecuted on the charges of negligence. 

Spain: Spain’s Ageing Farmers Try to Sow Seeds of Future (January 8, 2007)
Two Spanish farmers, Gabriel and Melones, have a story that highlights one of the main problems facing European agriculture: aging farmers and very few new or younger farmers to take over their fields. The article analyses new directions for Spanish and European agriculture, such as exploiting organic farming or biofuels.

Russia: Transportation Fees Jumped Up in Altai (December 26, 2006)
(Article in Russian)
The Altai region’s pensioners received an unpleasant New Year’s surprise. Starting from January 1, transportation fees went up significantly. What is the reason for yet another  price increase?

Russia: Brave and Fearless (December 20, 2006)
(Article in Russian)
Nobody cares about rural areas in Russia anymore.  Bureaucrats do not want to listen to local people. In the meanwhile, the life in today’s Russian village is very hard: no jobs, no farms, no schools.  During the “perestroika” years, everything was destroyed and closed. Young people are moving out of the nearly abandoned settlements and only older women and men remain to struggle every day for their lives.

Russia: Fall of Life (November 22, 2006)
(Article in Russian) 
Thousands of older people in Russia have to live alone for a number of different reasons. Only in one small village, Onezhsky, some 41 older persons, out of whom 11 are disabled, live in solitude, experiencing the consequences of social isolation. They all need different kind of help: money, medical assistance, medication. But what they need the most is communication. 

Russia: New Nursing Home in Orenburg (November 1, 2006)
(Article in Russian)
Lonely retirees from Orenburg will get a new nursing home. Local authorities re-built and remodeled the old building to meet the latest nursing home standards. Residents will find not only medical services but also appealing rooms for socializing.

Russia: Village Residents Isolated from the Main Land (October 31, 2006)
(Article in Russian)
It is not surprising that Russian villages are disappearing. Only a very brave person would dare have a family in such conditions. The article describes living conditions of a village in Russia where busses never make a stop and even emergency health care does not risk taking the ruined road that leads to it. As a result, the only inhabitants of the settlement are older persons who can count only on themselves in case of an urgent situation. 

Russia: New Home for Older Persons in Alekseevka (October 18, 2006)
(Article in Russian)
An older peoples’ home in Alekseevka village will open its doors on October 21, 2006. Two hundred people are already waiting for it and are ready to move in. However, the new establishment will only be able to accommodate 75 persons. The administration promises to open two more residences for older people in the region in 2007.

Russia: Spinster (October 11, 2006)
(Article in Russian)
The Petrovsky collective is a hopeless one with only fifteen to twenty houses. It lies far away from roads or other settlements. When you come close, you cannot hear dogs’ barking or children’s laughter – it is so quiet. Once it was a rich and prosperous place with more than a thousand people living there. Now its only inhabitants are ten old ladies and two older men who are happy to meet any new person.

Tatarstan: The War Veteran Turned Deserted Lot into Oasis (September 23, 2006)
(Article in Russian)
When Doctor Raisa Zayatdinova moved to her new apartment in Kazan she was shocked by the surrounding debris. The builders of the apartment complex left old bricks, logs and other construction rubbish.  Step by step, involving youth from the neighborhood, she created a garden, proving that older people can not only stay inside and watch TV, but also can become a leader and make a difference.

Russia: Active Vacation for Pensioners (June 14, 2006)
(Article in Russian)
Thanks to the local veterans organization, lonely and unemployed pensioners of Tver region get an opportunity to sightsee around the area. Renewing an old tradition of involving pensioners in summer activities, the organizers estimate that around 150 pensioners will travel this summer in association with the group.

Russia: A Residential Care Home for Older People (June 14, 2006)
(Article in Russian)
The government of Omsk region decided to found a residential care home for older disabled people. The government has spent almost 30 million Russian rubles (more than $1 million) on construction, decor and equipment for the home. However, authorities have yet to set an opening date.

Russia: Gas for Veterans’ Homes in Voronez Region (June 1, 2006)
(Article in Russian)
The Federal Pension Fund of the Russian Federation will provide financial help to veterans of World War II who would like to have natural gas in their houses but do not have their own assets available for this upgrade.

Belarus: Nothing Except Anniversary Greetings? (May 10, 2006)
(Article in Russian)
More than 2000 veterans of World War II live in Vitebsk today. Of this group, 39 need to improve their living conditions. Nikolai Volkov, 92 years old, is one of them. For more than 30 years he has unsuccessfully tried to persuade the local administration to provide him with an apartment that would correspond to minimum safety standards. He lives in a house that local building inspectors recognize is in extremely poor condition. Nikolai hoped that the administration would resolve his problem by the anniversary of the Great Victory 1945 (the 9th of May). However, he received nothing but greetings.

UK: The Old Country (April 4, 2006)
Newcastle University's Centre for Rural Economy has released a research paper showing that over the next two decades the number of people over 50 in rural areas will increase by 47%. This demographic change will deeply impact the face of the British countryside, threatening the elderly with even more isolation. In some cases, pensioners have seized the chance to create new systems to serve the older population.  Sixty-seven year-old Mike Gladstone, a former civil engineer who works as a volunteer for a number of village organizations, created a bus system for the small village. A growing number of seniors are reorganizing the failing economic and social services networks in rural Britain. Villages increasingly depend on the active engagement of their older citizens.

United Kingdom: Rural Aging in the United Kingdom (April 2006)
The UK Commission for Rural Communities has issued a report on housing and support needs for older persons in rural areas. The study focused on three points: “consultations with older people living in rural areas; a review of national policy and analysis of data from the 2001 Census and Survey of English Housing; and an exploration of the housing and support needs of older people and local service responses in five rural districts in England.” The study found that compared with younger age groups, older people demonstrate considerable satisfaction with both their homes and the areas in which they live.

Russia: Social Taxi is Coming! (March 25, 2006)
The Omsk administration has started a new social program: taxis for pensioners. It is cheaper than regular taxi service and thus very popular. The administration plans to expand the program for rural areas to cover the whole Omsk region. The pensioners appreciate the new service since mobility is hard for them in rural areas.

UK: Rural Isolation for Many Elderly (February 19, 2006)
Age Concern is organizing a conference on February 28th to address the social exclusion and isolation of older persons living in rural Cumbria (UK). 

Russia: A New Boarding House for the Elderly Opened in the Novgorod Region (January 18, 2006).

(Article in Russian)
A new social institution opened in a remote village of Ivanteevo (Novgorod region). This new boarding house surprised everyone with its modern approach and the amenities it has to offer. For once, it seems to have been made according to the principle "everything for the elderly." In the beginning, the village elderly would reside there temporarily: to receive a series of treatments and improve their health. Eventually, the authorities plan to use it in a more traditional way: a permanent residence for pensioners and the disabled. 

Russia: Elderly People Frequently Become Victims of Fire (January 16, 2006)
(Article in Russian)
A regional operation, "Elderly Person," took place in the Amur region of Russia. Regional lifeguards placed the houses of elderly people, the disabled, and pensioners directly under their watch. Homeless elderly would likewise receive special attention. Regional statistics reveal that elderly people are the most frequent victims of fire. Very often, they do not know how to react during fire alarms and do it in ways that lead to traumatic outcomes. 

France: Senate Adopts Important Legislation for Small Farmers' Pensions  (November 8, 2005)

(Press release in French)

The French Senate has adopted an act increasing the amount of pension monies paid to retired farmers and their wife or husband. Current laws ignore the fact that female farmers have often taken about two years away from farming to care for their children.   The State said that they had not contributed enough to the pension fund to be eligible for a full pension. This situation, concerning 15 000 people, will be corrected in January 2006 and should cost about 20 million euro.

Russia: The Residents of the Stantsionnii Village in Tuliskaia Region are Risking Their Lives for a Bucket of Water (July 12, 2005)
(Article in Russian)
Every time residents of a small village in Tuliskaia region go to get water they risk their lives. A half century after the Skuratov village was founded, no one can solve the problem with its drinking water. Every morning, pensioner Larysa Kolesnikova and her neighbors take their buckets and cross the railroad tracks to get water from a running brook. Every time the people pass over the tracks, it becomes a risk to the lives of all, but more so, for the elderly people. A couple of years ago, a train killed an old lady who was going to fetch water. The pensioners have complained to the administration about the lack of water in the village. Not so long time ago the pensioners were hoping the problem would be solved. At this point their optimism has vanished.

Ireland: 'Appalling' Safety Record on Farms (April 4, 2005)
The Irish Health and Safety Authority (HAS) launched "Farm Safety Week" on the week of April 11th. According to HAS, five people have died in farm-related accidents so far this year; four of these were over the age 65. Also, 50% of people who died on farms were aged 65 or older last year. "Tractors are involved in 34% of all serious farm accidents and approximately 40% of all deaths," Mary Coughlan, Agriculture Minister, said. The Irish government now requires better tractor maintenance, tractor guards, a self-assessment test, and other educational materials for older farmers. Will it help? 

Ukraine: Odessa's Rural Region Has No Chances for Improvement Soon (June 30, 2005)
(Article in Russian)
Currently, the government of Odessa region owes pensioners from the rural areas about six million grivni. The life of the rural population worsens every year and the situation in the region is indeed critical. Villages are almost abandoned. There is an acute need for a work force. Most of the population consists of elderly pensioners and those who are not able to move to the city. Many farms lack people who have skills needed in the field of mechanics, specialists in grape cultivation, and dairy specialists. The article's author says that rebuilding the Ukrainian rural areas must be priority goal. So far the government has done nothing to address this matter and the villages continue to become depopulated. The author argues that the government should shift its attention to rural Ukraine, the area formerly described as the "breadbasket of the Soviet Union," and create decent conditions for the people, mostly elderly, who still live there and attract younger people to come.

United Kingdom: Rural Healthcare Need 'Neglected' (January 21, 2005)
According to a report by the British Medical Association, English farmers don't have access to the health care they need, especially the older persons. With the ageing of the rural population and the unattractiveness of rural areas to doctors, the government and the health professionals appear to have abandoned the rural elderly. 

Middle East and North Africa

Report: MENA: The Demographic Profile of Arab Countries, The Aging of Rural Populations (2007)
Like developing countries worldwide, Arabic speaking countries are facing a rapid aging of their rural populations as the young move to the cities for job opportunities and older persons remain in rural areas or move to the countryside for their retirement. The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UNESCWA) has produced a report documenting the aging of rural populations in Arab countries. The report advises taking measures to slow the rural-to-urban migration in order to ensure the vibrancy of rural areas in the years to come. 

Egypt:  Neglect Leads to Blindness as Trachoma Spreads to Rural Areas in Egypt (December 24, 2005)
(Article in Arabic)
According to Dr. Abd El-Latif Seyam, professor of eye disease at Ain Shams University and counselor of the Trachoma Project in Egypt,  trachoma is classified as the third most important disease that causes blindness.  Trachoma now accounts for 20% of vision loss that has spread to Egyptian rural areas. Research shows that rural elders also suffer from cataracts, which accounts for 50% of blindness in the Egyptian countryside. Those who get eye surgery in Egypt is infinitesimal compared to the number of persons who suffer from vision loss or blindness. Doctors do not reach rural people who consequently have little hope for a cure. 

UAE: Aging Fishermen Collaborate with Agricultural Ministry (July 9, 2005)
(Article in Arabic)
The UAE Agricultural ministry presented a plan to aging fishermen to help the ministry benefit from the aging fishermen's experiences. Using the elder fishermens' insight and knowledge, the ministry believes that it can enhance the facilities that they have given to local fishermen, and respond better to their problems and needs.

Afghanistan: Karzaï Offers Reconciliation to Taliban (May 18, 2005) 
(Article in French)
Afghanistan is feeling some calm since the politics of reconciliation began by the President Karzaï. The Taliban seem to be moving more and more toward the new political regime, and the population hopes "to get it over with misery and to build a future," said Mohammed Shams, an older farmer. Like him, a lot of Afghans cultivate their opium poppy fields to provide for their needs and their families' ones. Forbidden by the Taliban, this cultivation has transformed Afghanistan into a real narco-state. Some 3500 tons of opium are produced each year: it means 80% of the world production, and half of the Afghan Gross Domestic Product. How can these old farmers find a substitute crop that produces a livelihood? One that is not tied to smuggling and enriching violent drug traffickers?


World: WHO Urges Government to Address Water Crisis in Remote Areas (July 19, 2005)
Safe access to water is indisputably one of the main avenues to good health in developing nations. The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently made a statement to urge government to make the accessibility of clean, drinkable water in poor countries, a top priority. WHO spokesman Professor Jamie Bartram says 50 per cent of the world's population does not have access to safe water. Access to clean water would assist the most vulnerable- including the sick and elderly to avoid serious illness.

Copyright © Global Action on Aging
Terms of Use  |  Privacy Policy  |  Contact Us