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TRANSFORMATION OF SOCIAL SERVICES FOR THE ELDERLY IN THE REGIONAL CONTEXT OF MODERN RUSSIA

Oksana Parfenova (e-mail: oksana.parfenova@gmail.com)

ITMO University; Sociological Institute of the FCTAS RAS 

Citation: Parfenova O. (2018) Transformatsiya sotsial'nogo obsluzhivaniya pozhilykh v regional'nom kontekste sovremennoy Rossii [Transformation of social services for the elderly in the regional context of modern Russia]. Zhurnal sotsiologii i sotsialnoy antropologii [The Journal of Sociology and Social Anthropology], 21(2): 165–186 (in Russian). https://doi.org/10.31119/jssa.2018.21.2.6

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Abstract. The article presents the results of the study of the effects of the new law on social services (442 Federal Law) regarding the social services for the elderly. The study was conducted in 3 cities/regions: St. Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod and its region, Velikii Novgorod and its region. The main empirical data includes: semi-structured interviews with experts (heads of social service centers/units); normative legal acts of various levels; statistical and demographic data. The article focuses on servicing at home and does not consider stationary / leisure forms of services. The ongoing transformation in the sphere of social services was considered in the terms of the neoliberal turn. No significant differences in the practice of applying 442 Federal Law between the regions were detected except the active presence of NGOs in St. Petersburg which plays the role of competitors to public services. The study showed that, in practice, liberalization means a substantial increase in service fees and a certain easing in access to social services (at the place of residence instead of servicing at the place of registration), as well as engaging NGOs in the field of social services. Along with this, in addition to salary growth, working conditions of the social workers now include increased workload and staff reduction. The new rules of social services paradoxically combine increasing cost of services, expansion of their list which contains a strict limitation of service duration, as well as the inability to flexibly change the number and composition of services required by the client. All this leads to the need of permanent maneuvering of both sides (the recipient of services and social service centers), substituting some services by others, and mutual discontent as a result. The situation of clients who get services at home after the adoption of 442 Federal Law did not improve qualitatively, rather, on the contrary, there was a growing dissatisfaction with higher service fees and additional bureaucratization. In a situation when there is an alternative form of service (NGOs), older people prefer to choose public service because of being uninformed or “out of habit”. A number of experts from state social service centers are quite reflective and critical about the situation, but their opinions and wishes are not taken into account by authorities.

Key words: social services, elderly people, social exclusion, liberalization, modern Russia

Acknowledgements

The study was performed with financial support by the grant from the Russian Science Foundation (project № 14-18-03434): “Models of the interaction between society and the elderly: a study of opportunities for the social inclusion”.

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