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Elderly man looking at his smartphone


Jun 26th, 2023
Aging in The Digital Era

Promoting digital independence in daily functioning for seniors in Israel

  • Our Research


The use of communication technology in daily life is rising steadily in our society. However, older individuals are in a digital gap relative to younger ones. This gap may lead to suboptimal function, which may have poor social and health consequences. The development of digital literacy is important both for contemporary use of the variety of digital options and services and for improving both the readiness and ability to adapt to a digital environment that is constantly evolving and changing.



The main goal of the program is to promote the digital literacy of the elderly in the fields of health, economy and leisure for the benefit of active and optimal aging. This goal includes also improving attitudes towards the use of digital means on a daily basis, improving the perceived digital capability and strengthening personal resilience and subjective well-being.



About 200 independent individuals (in the community and nursing homes) aged 60 and over, with low to medium digital literacy, will be included in this study. Data will be collected regarding use of smartphone, digital confidence, self-ageism, personal resilience and subjective well-being.



The study is supported by The Israeli Public Class Action Fund.


This project is in progress.



By Dr. Irit Bluvstein and Prof. Silvia Koton

Herczeg Institute on Aging, Tel Aviv University

Elderly, sad-looking woman gazing out the window by the kitchen table


Jun 26th, 2023
Complicated Grief in the Shadow of the COVID-19 Pandemic Among Adults and the

A mixed methods study

  • Our Research


The COVID-19 pandemic has been a mass bereavement event disrupting social functioning of individuals in the general population, restricted and changed end-of-life, mourning and grief processes. In these circumstances grief may become pathologic and complicated grief (CG) may rise. The vulnerability of elders to CG in times of loss and bereavement in the COVID-19 context was hardly researched.



The current study aimed to examine grief processes, complicated grief and their association with protective and vulnerability factors among adults and elders (45 years old and above) who experienced loss at the time of the COVID-19 pandemic.



We included 122 individuals, aged 45 and above, that had lost family members or other close persons during the COVID-19 pandemic. Cause of death was not restricted (i.e. any death cause could be included as long as the loss was during the COVID-19 pandemic). Participants were approached through virtual social networks and organizations related to grief and loss.



Self-reported data were collected using questionnaires of complicated grief, personal resilience, subjective well-being, negative engagement with hostile world scenarios, subjective health. In addition, qualitative data was collected by semi-structured interviews focusing on grief experiences.



  • Quantitative analyses identified factors with unique contribute to CG:  female gender, state anxiety and negative engagement with hostile world scenarios were identified as vulnerability factors, whereas resilience emerged as a protective factor.
  • Qualitative thematic analysis identified two main themes: (1) COVID-19 as an emotional accelerator and (2) Support from social resources in COVID-19 times.


A manuscript showing the complete results of our analysis is under preparation and will be submitted for publication in an international journal.



Findings provide important information regarding the psychological factors that are associated with complicated grief and add to our understanding of complicated grief among adults and elders in epidemic times. This highlights the importance of examining how individuals facing adversities in general and loss in particular, perceive their ability to cope with life adversities. 



The study was supported by the Minerva Center for Interdisciplinary Study of the End-of-Life award, Tel Aviv University.


By Dr. Irit Bluvstein and Prof. Silvia Koton, 

Herczeg Institute on Aging, Tel Aviv University

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