Factors affecting the will to live among elderly jews living in israel

Alon Zamir, Leeat Granek, Sara Carmel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Objectives: The aim of this qualitative study was to explore factors that influence older persons’ will to live (WTL). Methods: Twenty-five Israeli elders were interviewed about what weakens and/or strengthens their WTL. Elements of the grounded theory method guided the data collection and analysis. Results: Our analysis revealed that the elements that pertain to WTL could potentially both increase and decrease the WTL in elders. These factors included social networks, financial security, religious faith, working and volunteering, and honor versus ageism. Conclusions: Five factors represent different aspects of older persons' lives that influence the WTL. The first four themes including Social Networks, Religious Faith, Honor versus Ageism, and Working and Volunteering are consistent with the findings of the study of Blue Zones. Blue Zones are areas characterized by high life expectancy. Israel shares cultural characteristics with the Blue Zones, being a society with traditional collective characteristics stemming from the Jewish tradition. The last theme of financial security is related to the characteristics of Israel as a society in which the social gaps are large and many elderly are pushed to the social margins, and lack financial security. This study points to the unique cultural characteristics of Israel that affect the WTL among elderly Jews and proposes a hypothesis linking Israeli culture to the high life expectancy in Israel.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)550-556
Number of pages7
JournalAging and Mental Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2 Apr 2020


  • Will to live
  • blue zones
  • existential security
  • longevity
  • quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatric Mental Health
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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