Despite corona, elderly in Israel satisfied with life

An elderly couple walking on Jaffa street in central Jerusalem. (Flash90/Nati Shohat)

New data shows even with the pandemic, 86% of Israel’s elderly are satisfied with life, although they fear for the future.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

To mark last month’s World Senior Citizen’s Day, Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics released data from a social survey showing that despite the global coronavirus pandemic over the past year, most senior citizens have expressed general satisfaction with their lives, Maariv reported Thursday.

While 28% of senior citizens aged 65 and over feel lonely often or sometimes, 86% of Israel’s elderly population are satisfied with their lives, of whom 30% are very satisfied and 56% are satisfied. However, only 21% believe that their lives will improve in the coming years. Nearly half (45%) believe that their lives will not change and 19% fear that life will get worse.

Along with the optimistic data, the reality of being shut indoors during much of the year over fears of contracting the coronavirus resulted in a significant increase in loneliness since March, the report said.

According to the bureau’s data, at the end of 2019 the population of senior citizens in Israel numbered just over one million, with roughly 40% of them aged 75 and over, and more than half – 55.4% or 606,000 people – are women.

When it comes to speaking Hebrew, 58% of senior citizens said their command of Hebrew was very good, while 16% defined it as good and 26% said their command of the language is moderate, weak or they do not speak Hebrew at all.

When it comes to identifying as a senior, 25% of senior citizens reported feeling discriminated against. Health-wise, 42% of those aged 65 and over rated their health condition as not good, with 44% saying they have a health or physical problem that interferes with their daily functioning.

Economically, 22.2% of senior citizens reported they were still working in 2019, with an average of 41.3% of their income from salaries with the rest from equity, support benefits, pensions and investments. More than a third (35%) reported that they receive help from their children, with 60% of those getting help being Arabs and 39% of them being Jewish.

From a poverty perspective, 20% of the elderly – one in five – reported that they were unable pay their monthly bills on their own.

The elderly are still driving, with 36% of those aged 65 and over driving five-seven days per week, while 15% drive less than five days a week and another 9% have a driver’s license but do not drive at all. In contrast, 39% do not have a driver’s license.

Israel’s golden age population are also travelers and active, with 32% saying they went on a trip or vacation abroad in the year prior to the survey and 15% participated in volunteer activities in a private setting or as part of an organization.

What advice do seniors give for successful relationships? Seventy-six percent of the respondents said respect and appreciation while 70% believe that loyalty is the key to success.

And in the 21st century, fully two thirds (67%) of the elderly are using the Internet, a continuation in the trend for more elderly to be getting online.

Paul Shindman:
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