Caught between two fronts: successful aging in the time of COVID-19

Lukas Richter*, Theresa Heidinger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article

9 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The COVID-19 pandemic poses a great challenge for older people both in terms of the severity of the disease and the negative consequences of social distancing. Assumptions about negative effects on the lives of the elderly, affecting dimensions of successful aging (such as the preservation of social relationships), have thus far been hypothetical and have lacked empirical evidence. The aim of this paper is to shed empirical light on the effects of COVID-19 on the everyday life of older people against the background of the concept of successful aging. Design/methodology/approach: Data of a standardized, representative telephone survey with residents of Lower Austria, a county of Austria, were used for this secondary analysis. The sample included 521 persons of 60 years of age and older. For this paper, contingency analyses (χ² coefficients, z-tests using Bonferroni correction) and unidimensional correlational analyses were calculated. Findings: The empirical data show that successful aging along the three dimensions of successful aging is a challenge in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic – leaving the elderly caught between two fronts. Originality/value: The present work focusses on a unique moment in time, describing the changes to the lives of Austrian elderly because of the social distancing measures imposed to protect against the spread of COVID-19. These changes are discussed in the theoretical framework of successful aging.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-280
Number of pages8
JournalWorking with Older People
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 14 Dec 2020


  • Ageing well
  • COVID-19
  • Gerontology
  • Older people
  • Quality of life
  • Successful aging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gerontology
  • Community and Home Care


Dive into the research topics of 'Caught between two fronts: successful aging in the time of COVID-19'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this