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Societal Views of Older Adults in COVID-19

Updated: May 21, 2021

What can impact #older adults' perceptions of societal #ageism during #COVID19? This study points to the role of social resources, ageism in healthcare and death anxiety.


Cohn-Schwartz, E., & Ayalon, L. (2020). Societal views of older adults as vulnerable and a burden to society during the COVID-19 outbreak: Results from an Israeli nationally representative sample. The Journals of Gerontology: Series B.

https://academic.oup.com/psychsocgerontology/advance-article/doi/10.1093/geronb/gbaa150/5901136

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This study set out to examine the factors associated with older adults’ perceptions of ageism in society during the COVID-19 outbreak, in particular the portrayal of older people as a burden and as vulnerable.

Method: Data are based on a nationally representative survey of adults aged 50+ in Israel, conducted during the COVID19 outbreak (N = 888). Regression models predicted perceptions of societal ageism. The independent variables were dying anxiety, experiences of age-based discriminations, and social resources.

Results: Participants who believed older adults were perceived as a burden during the COVID-19 outbreak had higher dying anxiety and reported more age-based discrimination. Living with children and contact with family were protective against perceptions of adults as a burden. Participants who believed older adults were perceived as vulnerable had higher dying anxiety and were less likely to live with children. Thus, the daily lives of older adults can impact their perceptions of societal ageism during the COVID-19 outbreak



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