The Foster Family as a Means of Promoting Social Inclusion of Older People in the Russian North

Part of the International Perspectives on Aging book series (Int. Perspect. Aging, volume 22)


The ageing population of the Arctic is changing demand for health and social care systems. In Russia, the growing number of older people risk social isolation, particularly in rural northern areas characterised by a remote location and out-migration of younger people and care professionals to larger cities, resulting in lower availability and quality of care services for older people. Remaining community contacts have become a good resource in meeting the needs of older people sin rural areas of Arctic Russia lacking institutional forms of support. In this chapter, we introduce the innovative foster family programme, which pairs lonely old people with foster families, as an alternative form of care provision. The main case study is Arkhangelsk in the Russian Arctic, which is characterised by geographical remoteness, rurality and “northerness”.


Foster family Older people Russian Arctic Arkhangelsk Remote location Rural area Loneliness 


  1. Bakharev, V. V., & Svischev, K. G. (2008). Quality assessment of in-home social services for older people. Regionology, 3. Accessed 2 Oct 2017. In Russian.
  2. Bashkireva, A. S., Shestakov, V. P., Svintsov, A. A., Chernova, G. I., Chernyakina, T. S., Kachan, E. Y., & Bogdanov, Е. А. (2015). Systems analysis of social services for older people in Russia. Clinical Gerontology, 21(3–4), 24–28. In Russian.Google Scholar
  3. Bondarenko, I. N. (2011). Foster family for older persons: The right to exist 10 years after. Social Services, 1, 42–61. In Russian.Google Scholar
  4. Butyeva, Z. A. (2015). Development of family social service of elderly people in terms of social reforms. The BSU Bulletin, 5. Accessed 5 Oct 2017. In Russian.
  5. Dwyer, P., & Hardill, I. (2011). Promoting social inclusion? The impact of village services on the lives of older people living in rural England. Ageing and Society, 31(2), 243–264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Emelyanova, A. (2015). Cross-regional analysis of population aging in the Arctic (Academic doctoral dissertation). University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland. Accessed 25 Sept 2017.
  7. Emelyanova, A., & Rautio, A. (2015). Policies of Arctic countries to promote volunteering in old age. In Ageing, wellbeing and climate change in the Arctic: An interdisciplinary analysis (pp. 49–68). Routledge.Google Scholar
  8. Fausset, C. B., Kelly, A. J., Rogers, W. A., & Fisk, A. D. (2011). Challenges to aging in place: Understanding home maintenance difficulties. Journal of Housing for the Elderly, 25(2), 125–141. Scholar
  9. Federal State Statistics Services of the Russian Federation. (2017). Accessed 25 Sept 2017.
  10. Ghiga, I., & Golubeva, E. (2018). Final Report. Russian Federation: Foster families for older people in remote northern Russian territories. The World Health Organization Centre for Health Development Kobe. In press.Google Scholar
  11. Golubeva, E. Y. (2014). The role of social-medical care in enhancing the quality of life of elderly people in the Russian part of the Barents-Euroarctic region. Advances in Gerontology, 4(4), 264–268. Scholar
  12. Golubeva, E. Y. (2016). System analysis of factors affecting the quality of life of aged people in their use of different forms of social services. Advances in Gerontology, 6(4), 338–342. Scholar
  13. Golubeva, E. Y., Khabarova, L. G., & Soloviev, A.G. (2017). Foster family as a new technology of social care in the policy of active aging in remote northern areas. Human Ecology, 11. In Russian.Google Scholar
  14. Golubeva, E. Y., & Kushnarenko, N. S. (2017). Foster family for older persons: Traditions and innovations in care. In New technologies of social work in Russia and abroad (pp. 133–144). Ulyanovsk: Zebra. In Russian.Google Scholar
  15. Goodman, A., Adams, A., & Swift, H. J. (2015). Hidden citizens: How can we identify the most lonely older adults? Accessed 2 Oct 2017.
  16. Government of Arkhangelsk region. (2015). Amendments on Law of Arkhangelsk region from 21.11.2011 №382-26-ОЗ on Foster families for older and disabled persons in Arkhangelsk region (amendments in effect from 24.02.2015). Accessed 5 Oct 2017. In Russian.
  17. Government of Arkhangelsk region (2016). 147 foster families for older persons started to function in Arkhangelsk region. Accessed 2 Oct 2017. In Russian.
  18. Government of Sakha (Yakutia) republic. (2016). Amendments on Law of Sakha (Yakutia) republic from 21.02.2013 №1159-Z N 1229-IV ‘On the organization of foster families for older persons in Sakha (Yakutia) republic’ (amendments in effect from 14.03.2016). Accessed 4 Oct 2017. In Russian.
  19. Government of the Russian Federation. (2016a). Plan of action on the Strategy for the benefit of older people in Russia until 2025 (the first stage until 2020) (Approved by the Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation No. 2539–р). Moscow, Russia. Accessed 4 Oct 2017. In Russian.
  20. Government of the Russian Federation. (2016b). Strategy of action for the benefit of older people in Russia until 2025 (Approved by the Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation No. 164–р). Moscow, Russia. Accessed 4 Oct 2017. In Russian.
  21. Government of Tomsk region. (2015). Amendments on Law of Tomsk region from 8.10.2014 №127-ОЗ ‘On the organization of social services in Tomsk region’ (amendments in effect from 18.09.2015). Accessed 4 Oct 2017. In Russian.
  22. Krasnova, O. V. (2012). Regression model of choices in old age. Modern social psychology. Theoretical Approaches and Applied Studies, 1, 76–99. In Russian.Google Scholar
  23. Lutz, W., Sanderson, W., & Scherbov, S. (2008). The coming acceleration of global population ageing. Nature, 451(7179), 716–719. Scholar
  24. Ministry of Labour of the Russian Federation. (2014). On the implementation of regional policy programs to enhance quality of life of older persons. Accessed 2 Oct 2017. In Russian.
  25. Newdaynews. (2017). No place for old men: Older persons see a doctor less. Accessed 1 Oct 2017. In Russian.
  26. Osokheeva, B. R. (2013). Adoptive family as a technology of social services for the elderly (pp. 255–256). Presented at the Types and methods of social work in various spheres of human activity, Ulan-Ude, Russia: East-Siberian State University of Technology and Management. Materials of the II International Scientifically-Practical Conference, 255–256. In Russian.Google Scholar
  27. Presniakova, L. (2005). Social, material and emotional climate of old age in Russia. Otechestvennye Zapiski, 24(3), 56–68. In Russian.Google Scholar
  28. RANEPA, Rosstat, & IIASA. (2016). Russian demographic datasheet 2016 (Data, documentation and supplementary materials). Moscow, Russia and Laxenburg, Austria. Accessed 28 Sept 2017.
  29. Romanychev, I. S. (2010). Social services for older people via lens of utilitarian classification of needs. National Journal of Social Work, 4, 69–80. In Russian.Google Scholar
  30. Scherbov, S., Andruchowitz, S., & Sanderson, W. (2018). Aging demographic data sheet 2018. Accessed 6 Feb 2018.
  31. Troshina, T. I. (2016). Strategies and practices of collective self-preservation of the population of the northern village: Historical experience and modern realities. Ekonomicheskiye i sotsial’nyye peremeny: fakty, tendentsii, prognoz/Economic and social changes: facts, trends, forecasts, 2, 94–113. In Russian.Google Scholar
  32. UNECE. (2016). National follow-up to the UNECE Regional Implementation Strategy for the MIPAA in Russia. Accessed 6 Oct 2017.
  33. UNECE. (2017). Policy brief on ageing. Older persons in rural and remote areas, 18. Accessed 27 Sept 2017.
  34. Vaarama, M., Pieper, R., & Sixsmith, A. (2007). Care-related quality of life: Conceptual and empirical exploration. In Quality of life in old age (pp. 215–232). Dordrecht: Springer. Scholar
  35. Vasilchikov, V. M., & Chikarina, L. Y. (2013). Foster family for older persons: State policy and sub-national practices. Labour and Social Relations, 10, 16–21. In Russian.Google Scholar
  36. Walsh, K., O’Shea, E., & Scharf, T. (2012). Ageing in changing community contexts: Cross-border perspectives from rural Ireland and Northern Ireland. Journal of Rural Studies, 28(4), 347–357. Scholar
  37. Wiles, J. L., Leibing, A., Guberman, N., Reeve, J., & Allen, R. E. S. (2012). The meaning of ‘aging in place’ to older people. The Gerontologist, 52(3), 357–366. Scholar
  38. YakutiaMedia. (2017). Nearly 100 older persons found home in the foster family in Yakutia. Accessed 6 Oct 2017. In Russian.

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Northern Arctic Federal UniversityArkhangelskRussia
  2. 2.Thule InstituteUniversity of OuluOuluFinland

Personalised recommendations