Year: 2020 Source: International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction. (2020). doi: 10.1007/s11469-020-00339-4 SIEC No: 20200508


The current commentary and review examines the potentially protective role of feelings of mattering among elderly people during typical times and the current atypical times associated with the COVID-19 global pandemic. Mattering is the feeling of being important to others in ways that give people the sense that they are valued and other people care about them. We contrast this feeling with messages of not mattering and being expendable and disposable due to ageism, gaps in the provision of care, and apparently economically focused positions taken during the pandemic that disrespect the value, worth, and merits of older persons. We provide a comprehensive review of past research on individual differences in mattering among older adults and illustrate the unique role of mattering in potentially protecting older adults from mental health problems. Mattering is also discussed in terms of its links with loneliness and physical health. This article concludes with a discussion of initiatives and interventions that can be modified and enhanced to instill a sense of mattering among older adults. Key directions for future research are also highlighted along with ways to expand the mattering concept to more fully understand and appreciate the relevance of mattering among older adults.