Research details Factsheet situation of older persons in Eastern Ukraine – September 2022

Details on the research substantiating Dorcas’ factsheet on the situation of older persons in Eastern Ukraine published in September 2022:

The conclusions of this inquiry are based on two separate sets of data. The first set of data stems from a needs assessment performed in Zaporizhya, in July 2022. In Zaporizhya, Dorcas interviewed 840 internally displaced persons (IDPs), over a target group of 100.000 persons in total. The margin of error is therefore 5,7 percent. This data shows that older persons (both women and men) are relatively underrepresented in IDP facilities, indicating that older persons stay at their homes more often. For example, older women represent 6,3 percent in IDP facilities near Zaporizhya, but in the Ukrainian population they represent 11,3 percent of the total population. This means that, relative to their representation in the Ukrainian population, there are few older women in the IDP facilities, indicating that older women tend to stay in their homes more often instead of fleeing. This applies to older men and people with a disability as well: for these groups their relative representation in IPD facilities is (much) lower than their relative representation in the Ukrainian population.


This claim was supported by another inquiry performed by our staff, focusing on the whereabouts of older persons in Dorcas’ sponsorship programmes in Ukraine. Dorcas staff reached out to older persons or their social networks to create an overview of where the older persons were residing, and how they were doing physically and mentally. Through its older person sponsorship programmes in Ukraine, Dorcas was able to verify the situation of 225 older persons in Eastern Ukraine. In total, 60 percent of these older persons stayed in their homes. Of only 29 percent of the older persons Dorcas could confirm that they had fled their homes to find safety elsewhere.


Vulnerabilities of older persons staying at home that are mentioned in the factsheet (such as abuse, shelling, torture and detention) are based on two reports by the UN[1][2] and a report by Human Rights Watch [3]. These reports indicate that older persons often cannot or will not flee their homes, for various reasons. Reasons to stay at home include reduced mobility or disability, challenges with adapting to unfamiliar environments, lack of financial resources and so forth. This makes older persons vulnerable to:

  • unlawful attacking and killing of older civilians;
  • summary executions;
  • arbitrary arrest and detention;
  • torture and other ill-treatment;
  • rape;
  • abduction and kidnapping;
  • and the destruction of their homes and other property.