The Republic of Sakha (also known as Yakutia) in the Russian Far East has passed a law that allows families to “adopt” senior citizens into their families, after old wooden care homes in the Republic’s rural areas were demolished as a fire hazard.
“All the Republic’s homes for the elderly are overcrowded. Besides, how can we send lonely old people to Yakutsk [the Republic’s capital] if they can’t imagine themselves outside their native villages?” says a Yakutian social worker.
A local woman, who took in an old man after raising four kids (two of her own and two adopted), talks about her new family member, “While he was able-bodied, he used to help us around the house, didn’t allow us to do men’s work. He’s taken it down a notch recently, he’s 90 after all. His very presense is a big moral support for us. A family must have not only children, but an elder as well. Otherwise it can’t be called a full family”.