Russia has more than 30 million senior citizens today, and experts forecast that the number of pensioners, especially those aged over 80, will increase over the coming decade. Progress has been made in improving social support provisions for senior citizens over recent years, but continued efforts to increase pensions are not the only task in this area. It is essential to do everything necessary to provide senior citizens with better living conditions in general and ensure that they are more engaged in the life of society, the President said.
Mr Medvedev noted in particular issues regarding provision of medicines for senior citizens. The President spoke of the need to stabilise prices for these products and said that artificially raising prices is amoral and even criminal. The state procurement system in this area also must be made more effective, Mr Medvedev said. The President also called for expansion of pharmacy networks in the regions, active efforts to develop sales of medicines in rural paramedical centres, and organisation of a system for home delivery of medicines.
The President also spoke of the need to improve the material and equipment resources of nursing homes and old-age care centres. Russia has around 1,500 such facilities. Mr Medvedev called this an urgent task, and also noted the need to pay more attention to organising leisure activities for senior citizens.
Senior citizens’ sense of wellbeing depends in large part on the conditions of social sector workers, and in this respect it is important to develop a system of moral and material incentives for the people working in this sector, the President said. Furthermore, research into aging also needs to develop, and subjects such as gerontology and geriatrics should be included in the curriculum at relevant universities.
The meeting also looked at the drafting of a new law on provision of social services, and the President gave the instruction to speed up this work and submit the draft law to the State Duma.
Mr Medvedev will issue a number of instructions based on the results of the State Council Presidium meeting and a number of other meetings on raising senior citizens’ quality of life that were held this month.