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Fighting Loneliness Among Russia’s Elderly

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When Lydia Kondrashova’s husband died in 1994, her pension wasn’t enough to keep her afloat. So she left her longtime home in southern Russia to move in with her youngest daughter in Mytishchi, a Moscow suburb.

Two decades later, however, the arrangement had run its course. The elderly woman needed more attention with each passing year, and her daughter was busy with her own children and work. Kondrashova decided to enter a nursing home.

“I’ve been around people my whole life,” Kondrashova, 94, said on a recent afternoon in her room at a Mytishchi home for the elderly and disabled. “I used to kiss my neighbour good morning every day. When I moved, there was no one left to kiss.”

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Already saddled with meager pensions, Russia’s elderly also face another hardship: solitude.


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