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The Family that reached the very old age: Missing functioning of vital life environment

Conducted by:

Dr. Sharon Ramer Biel / School of Government and Society

There are very few empirical studies that focus on the advanced-age family, and they mostly tend to emphasize the challenges facing family second generation members as caregivers, rather than first generation members (fourth-age), who are often seen as patient. In contrast, the purpose of this study is to research family and family values representations in the latest stages of life, as present in the life stories of Israel’s founder generation, when they reached the ninth and tenth decades of their lives, at the beginning of the third millennium. The study identified the high symbolic status of family and family values ​​in all stages of life of the Israeli eldest, what is consistent with the characteristics of Israeli culture values. At the same time, it appears that among this generation group, the family is perceived as an absent functioning system in early stages of life as well as in the latest ones. During childhood and adolescence, the lack of functioning was characterized by dissolution, which was expressed as the negative of the functioning family. In contrast, in latest stages of life, the lack of functioning was characterized by terms of dissipation, that is, a situation that no longer arises in relation to the functional setting, but only to itself.

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