Coronavirus lockdown in Moscow: Elderly struggling to cope with COVID-19 restrictions

Nina in her home in Moscow, Russia
Nina in her home in Moscow, Russia Copyright Euronews
By Galina PolonskayaMary Colombel
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“Old people have to stay between four walls most of the time anyway, so not letting us go out at all is torture,” said pensioner Nina.


Lockdown is proving to be hard for Moscow's elderly and many are falling through the net of social services, it's been claimed.

Muscovites aged over 65 or with chronic conditions are not supposed to leave their homes.

Many are trying to stay isolated but, for some, managing their daily lives on their own is far from easy.

Nina is more than 80 years old and lives in Moscow, the epicentre of the COVID-19 epidemic in Russia.

But she is refusing to stay at home.

“Old people have to stay between four walls most of the time anyway, so not letting us go out at all is torture,” she said.

Social services and volunteers are helping by going shopping and delivering food but they lack the funding to do more.

Oleg Sharipkov, executive director of the Civil Union Foundation, says the elderly are a "forgotten generation".

"Lots of people need to be visited, a whole generation, there aren't enough resources to see them all," he said.

"And there are many vulnerable older people who are not the focus of social services and volunteers." 

Those living alone face even more difficulties during the lockdown.

Some do not have bank cards and could not get their pensions as the banks were closed during the first week of restrictions.

"People found themselves in a situation where they simply did not have the money to buy food," Sharipkov said.

Many older Moscovites do not have access to a computer let alone the internet and this heavily reduces their human interaction during the lockdown.

Others have no living relatives left. Foundations, social services and volunteers are doing their best but Sharipkov says it just isn't enough.

“They need food, and someone to take their rubbish out, and many of them are really scared", said Andrei, a volunteer.

Lockdown conditions have also made it very hard for people with older relatives to properly look after their parents.

After a stroke, Maria Esakova's mother now needs constant care and because of the new restrictions, she can only visit her twice a week. Maria also has to take care of her children and cannot move in with her mother.


“She can fall down at any moment, and I have already used up my two scheduled visits per week," said Maria. "What can I do if she falls down? She doesn’t cook for herself. Her right hand does not work. How can I not go to her? Volunteers do not have the right to go inside, they only bring the products to the door, it does not even reach the door.”

Social services have asked the government for more funds to help better protect the elderly during the lockdown but say they have received no response.

Russia has recorded more than 50,000 COVID-19 infections and 456 deaths. 

What do you think? Should societies be doing more to help the elderly during lockdown? If so, what? Let us know in the comments, below.

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