Older Russians are generally less healthy that their peers in Europe, the US, and other BRICS countries. Poor health is one of the barriers to remaining active and enjoying a well-deserved rest after retirement age. The second most common problem affecting elderly Russians is having to share a home with children and grandchildren, while a lack of social engagement and limited social connections come third on the list of barriers to active aging in Russia. According to researchers, the Russian elderly have social potential, but rarely use it.
Fewer than 20% of older Russians exercise to keep fit or practice some kind of sport, which is low compared to many other countries. Walking is the most popular type of exercise among the elderly across countries. According to research, Russian pensioners could be encouraged to exercise more and keep fit by state-supported health promotion measures, such as targeted educational programmes, enabling infrastructure, and perhaps even financial incentives.
Despite health problems, older people in Russia are working harder and longer than retirees elsewhere. More than 40% of currently employed Russians plan to continue working past retirement age. While researchers consider continued employment to be a strength of the Russian elderly, the main reason why they continue to work is low pension size rather than commitment to professional activity.
Recently, of all Russian who continue to work past retirement age, the proportion of those employed in the public sector has increased, particularly in education and science, healthcare, public utilities, and the military-industrial complex. However, older Russians are often employed without any job guarantees or in low-status positions. The proportion of self-employed elderly in Russia is minimal at 2% to 3% of all working seniors.
Older Russians often feel discriminated against, based on their age, according to a survey conducted in Russia and in Israel, where a large proportion of elderly citizens are originally from Russia. Age discrimination can involve labelling and false assumptions: for example, older people are often labelled as whiny when they are unhappy with their lives or assumed to be hard of hearing or suffering from dementia should they fail to hear a word or forget something.