Current Issue
September, 2019
Volume 45, Number 3
25 October 2012
Annie Grunow

Two generations in western Ukraine work together to harvest one of fall's most beloved crops. (photo: Petro Didula)

As reported by Mariya Tytarenko in the March 2011 issue of ONE, the villages of Ukraine dwindle in population as younger generations move away to find opportunities elsewhere:

In Yakymiv, 25 houses languish, abandoned to the elements by their owners who have either moved away or died. Of the 100 or so occupied houses, about 10 are home to young families. The elderly, mostly widows or widowers, live in the rest.

While the region boasts a nursing home, only two women from the village council reside there.

“If those seniors had relatives, they would not have been sent there,” explains Ms. Batyiovska.

As council president, she oversees the process by which elderly residents enter the nursing home. The individual must consent and the council must provide a written intervention. In general, the elderly in rural Ukraine prefer to stay in their homes, even when they receive little or no family support.

Eighty-one-year-old Natalya Palykh-Tomkiv is one such widow. In 1996, her husband, Yosyp, died. And, in 2006, she lost her daughter. She now lives alone in the family home, ambling about her vegetable garden and shuffling to church as often as she can. Most days, the radio keeps her company, which she listens to full blast all day long. She also stays in touch with her granddaughter, named Natalya after her, who teaches English in Lviv. The two speak to each other regularly, and Mrs. Palykh-Tomkiv always keeps her mobile phone close at hand.

To read more about Ukraine’s villages, check out the article here.

Tags: Ukraine Village life Caring for the Elderly