In the Russian Empire of the second half of the XIX century, the average life expectancy of men was 33 years, women - 30 years. Therefore, a person aged 50 was already considered old. Such a low life expectancy can be explained by high maternal and infant mortality, accidents, diseases. Almost every year the territory of the country was covered by epidemics of typhus and cholera. Measles, whooping cough, scarlet fever gathered a rich harvest of children's lives.
By the end of the XIX century, many diseases were defeated, for example, smallpox, and medical care improved. People began to live longer.
Families took care of the elderly. For lonely old people there were charitable institutions of public contempt – merchant and petty-bourgeois almshouses. Almshouses were also placed at churches and monasteries. There were widows of priests and clergymen in them.
In the Soviet Union, the state took care of the elderly.
On July 14, 1956, the pension system of the USSR was created. At that time, the relevant law was adopted. Based on it, men were provided with financial support from the age of 60, if their experience was 25 years, and women were granted this right earlier, at the age of 55, and their experience should have been at least 20 years. Citizens working in difficult conditions – for example, in the regions of the Far North, or for people engaged in socially important work – teaching or treatment – an earlier exit to a well-deserved rest was allowed. The amount of pension payments was related to wages. In urban conditions, citizens of retirement age were given from 70 to 120 rubles. The lowest pension in that period was 35 rubles. It was a social kind of payment, established for unemployed citizens or those who did not have time to work the right amount of time.