New Study Illuminates the Hardship Facing Jewish Elderly Across Former Soviet Union

Brandeis University’s Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies has just released a new report that spotlights the tremendous need that persists today among large numbers of Jewish elderly in the countries of the former Soviet Union (FSU).

The study, “Hardship and Needs of Elderly Clients in Russia and Ukraine,” reviews the current economic, health, and social conditions of these impoverished elderly Jews, and it strives to compare their circumstances to their counterparts in western countries such as the US.

Twenty years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, most countries in this region are still hard-put to provide an adequate safety net for their aging adults. These are people who worked their whole lives—as university professors, engineers, and health professionals, etc.—only to see their pensions and savings diminish or disappear. Many now face unconscionable choices as they struggle to cover the cost of food, medicine, and home heating.

The study reveals that in Russia and Ukraine, home to the largest numbers of Jews receiving services through the Hesed centers that JDC helped to develop and supports, household expenditures are more than twice the amount of reported pension income. That’s because costs for basic needs such as utilities and food, health services (including medicine), and home care have skyrocketed in recent years.

From 2005 to 2010, consumer costs in Ukraine nearly doubled, and they increased by 63% in Russia. (By comparison, consumer costs went up only 12% in the US during that same period.) Furthermore, the elderly in these countries shoulder a significantly larger portion of their health care expenses, paying for 30-40% of the costs out-of-pocket. All this, despite the fact that pension incomes are generally three to four times lower compared to social security income in the US.

The report’s focus on these bottom-line statistics underscores the “clear need for external support for basic health and social services for elderly Jews in the FSU.”

Many of these elderly also face housing issues, health challenges, and suffer from a lack of family. In their extreme financial straits, these impoverished Jews become completely reliant on support outside of the public social welfare framework—support that JDC is committed to finding the resources to provide.

To learn more about the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies’ report‚ visit: http://www.brandeis.edu/cmjs/pdfs/HesedReport.pdf.

Comments

X

An error occurred during your login.

X

JDC, Cookies, and Your Privacy

Cookies are small pieces of information sent by our web server for storage on your computer, to be retrieved when you return to this site. We use cookies to allow you faster, more convenient access, and to prevent you from being required to log in on every page of our sites.

For more information on JDC’s use of cookies, read our Privacy Policy.

X

An Error Occurred

X

Logging In With One of Your Social Web Site Logins

Instead of trying to remember a bunch of special username/password combinations to log in to different web sites that you visit, you can now link your account on this web site to your account on one (or more) of the social media web sites shown and log in with the same username/password combination that you use on that social web site to log in to our site.

To provide this connection in a secure manner, we use Gigya, a social network connection provider that works behind the scenes to make safe, secure connections between user accounts on different systems, such as popular social media web sites like Facebook and web sites like ours where you are actively involved in social issues and causes.

Each time you log in, Gigya uses special application programming interfaces (APIs) to establish the connection between the sites and validate your username and password. Neither our web site or Gigya receive or store your social network passwords.

In addition to reducing the number of logins you have to remember, connecting your accounts can make it quicker and easier to share an activity or cause you feel passionately about from our web site with your friends on your social web sites.

You can break the connection between your accounts at any time.