34 L.Ukrainki Blvd., 2nd entrance, 6th floor
Kyiv, Ukraine, 01133

A joint report by InfoSapiens and a global non-profit organization HelpAge International was published on February 24, 2023. This report shows that older people’s human rights are at risk as a result of the war in Ukraine, despite significant efforts to support them. In particular, this research finds that the experiences of older people during the war are diverse, and documents how specific sections of the older population face disproportionate risks. Findings in this report are primarily from a December 2022 national survey of 400 older Ukrainians as well as focus group discussions and key informant interviews conducted by the Ukrainian research firm Info Sapiens and commissioned by HelpAge International. It is the first nationally representative survey of older people in Ukraine during the war. Data from some of Info Sapiens’ 2022 nationally representative surveys of all Ukrainians, including older people, are also used, as well as testimony from HelpAge interviews with older Ukrainians. Where possible, findings are corroborated by other sources.


Quantitative research: We conducted a representative survey of 400 older men and women, of whom 211 were 60 – 69 years old, 117 were 70 – 79 years old, and 72 were 80 and older. There were 256 female and 144 male respondents. The survey was conducted from 28 December 2022 to 4 January 2023 via computer-assisted telephone interview (CATI) and random generation of mobile phone numbers of citizens aged 60 and older. The survey was conducted in all regions of Ukraine, except the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, Sevastopol, and areas of Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts under the temporary military control of the Russian Federation. Interviewees were given the option of speaking in Ukrainian or Russian. When asking respondents about the consequences of the war on their lives, we requested they name only current concerns, not past problems that have been resolved. On average, each interview lasted 26,5 minutes. The marginal theoretical error for the entire sample is 4.9 per cent. After completion of the survey, we applied weighting using the following parameters: age, gender, region of residence and size of settlement of residence prior to 24 February 2022, using Ukrainian State Statistics Service data on population distribution as of 1 January 2022. Additionally, from 12-18 December 2022, Info Sapiens conducted a nationally representative computer-assisted telephone interview (CATI) survey of 1,000 individuals aged 16 and over from across Ukraine. The survey included 285 people over 60. This survey provided insights into some of the differences in experiences between people 60 and older and the total Ukrainian population since February 2022.

Qualitative research: We also conducted 10 in-depth individual interviews, eight by telephone and two in person with key informants (KIs) involved in humanitarian assistance and response, including eight key informants from non-governmental organisations and two key informants from government agencies. Representatives from the following organisations and agencies were interviewed: HelpAge (two interviews), Let’s Help, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), National Assembly of People with Disabilities, Right to Protection (R2P), Turbota pro Litnih v Ukraini, UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Kyiv state regional administration (Pereyaslav – Khmelnytskyi Center for Social Protection of Pensioners and Persons with Disabilities); Department of Social Policy (Kyiv territorial center of social service and social protection of the population of the Holosiivsky district). Key informants had worked in the organisation for at least six months and participated in or led projects and programmes for older people (60+) since the beginning of the full-scale war in Ukraine. We also conducted two focus group discussions (FGDs) with older people over 60 by video conference: one group of seven women and a separate group of six men.
• Each group included two people over 70.
• There were two internally displaced people in each group.
• Each group included people from both cities and rural areas.
• People in the groups were from different regions, including from areas which have experienced active conflict, have been temporarily under the military control of the Russian Federation, or both, including the Luhansk region and Izium and other locations in the Kharkiv region.
• There were three people with disabilities in each group.

The findings of this report present a troubling picture of the response to older people’s humanitarian needs in Ukraine. They reveal older people’s human rights are at serious risk as a result of the war. Based on this research and the experiences that older people have shared, we have included detailed recommendations which we believe can serve as an important guide to all those working in Ukraine to protect and support those at risk, and can also strengthen humanitarian systems more broadly.

Above all, older people’s views must inform decision-making and efforts meant to support them.

1. The Government of Ukraine, UN agencies and I/NGOs must uphold the rights of older women and men and proactively address their needs in the humanitarian response to the war in Ukraine.

2. In line with their human rights obligations, humanitarian actors’ projects should prioritise support for older people, in particular older women, and people over 70, due to the specific risks they face and the barriers to accessing essential goods and services and humanitarian assistance, including access to financial assistance, information, food, medicines, healthcare, transportation, in-home care and support services, and psychological support services.

3. Humanitarian actors should ensure that older people have a voice in decision-making, in line with their human rights obligations and commitments to accountability to affected populations. Specifically, they should actively support the engagement, participation, empowerment, agency, and autonomy of older people and incorporate their perspectives and experiences in plans, programmes, and monitoring.

4. Humanitarian actors should regularly collect, analyse, report, and use data on older people disaggregated by age cohort, gender, and disability. They should use the information to inform policy and programmes, and publicly share their data and findings with others to achieve greater reach and inclusion of older people.

5. Humanitarian actors should develop and implement policies and hire and train staff with the skills and knowledge to deliver age, gender, and disability responsive approaches, in close consultation with older people.

6. The Government of Ukraine should introduce policies that provide incentives for the retention and employment of older people.

7. There should be greater social and legal support for older people to receive assistance and social benefits, including support in registering with the government as a person with a disability.

8. Humanitarian organisation and government websites, phone numbers, and informational hotlines regarding assistance to older people should be widely and frequently promoted.

9. Information about assistance, including entitlements and distribution modalities, should be communicated via television, radio, organisations working to support older people, and social service organisations, as well as via phone calls, SMS, and messenger apps. Information should be distributed in a variety of formats, including in sign language, braille, easy-to-read formats, and using images.

10. Means of communication should be provided for older people, including mobile phones and internet, televisions, radio, generators, or power banks, along with education and support services on using the devices.

Link to download a report

Thematic directions

Popular publications

We will be glad to answer all your questions.

Contact us