Gerontology : The Biological, Psychological, And Social Aspects Of Aging

Gerontology : The Biological, Psychological, And Social Aspects Of Aging

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Gerontology is a discipline rich in topics and subject matter. It is defined as a multidisciplinary field of study that incorporates the biological, psychological, and social aspects of aging. There are opportunities for gerontologists to work as practitioners or researchers in a wide range of fields. Along with jobs related to biology, psychology, and sociology, there are gerontology fields in economics, political science, anthropology, technology, and architecture to name a few (Hooyman & Kiyak, 2011, pp. 3, 38). Every one of us is touched by the aged population in one way or another. Perhaps it is a grandparent, parent, or an elderly neighbor. Many of us have preconceived notions about the aged population that may or may not be true. The study of gerontology helps to discern facts from fiction. While the general tendency may be to lump the elderly population into one group, gerontologists see significant variances in living independently, still working, social activities and health care, as people further continue to age. They see three different groups, the young-old (ages 65 to 74), the old-old (ages 75 to 84) and the oldest-old (age 85 and older), which is the fastest growing group (Benokraitis, 2011, p. 475). Within these groups, it is imperative to distinguish the elderly peoples’ abilities to function independently in their most basic personal care tasks, such as eating, bathing, dressing, using the toilet, and walking. These are called the Activities of Daily Living (ADL). In addition, there are also the Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL), the more complex, societal interactive activities such as managing money, cooking for oneself, and shopping, which can create the most common IADL problem with ...


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...to imagine when considering that over half the population, 54% of the adult population in the US, in a 2009 survey, reported being touched by AD in one way or another (Harris Interactive, 2009). With this large an impact on society, there can be no denying AD is at the forefront of issues in gerontology today.
The objective analysis on why the Baby Boomers, chronic diseases, and Alzheimer’s are pressing issues in gerontology today are woven together by the common thread of substantial numbers. The statistical analysis of these issues lends credibility to the reason they are so timely and often brought up in discussions about the impact the aging population has on society. These three topics also offer opportunities for gerontologists to apply various social theories to explain what kind of impacts they have on both the aging population and society in general.

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