With a rapidly growing populace of seniors comes a host of specialized medical professions. But what is gerontology?
Within the medical industry there are many different specialties. Some of the most common specialties include things like general medicine, internal medicine, and surgery but one of the most rapidly expanding fields is one that many people know little about – what is gerontology? Keep reading to learn what gerontology is and how it might impact your life as an aging adult.
What is Gerontology – Official Definition
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines gerontology as, “the comprehensive study of aging and the problems of the aged.” This field of study deals specifically with the multi-faceted aspects of aging that incorporates elements of psychology, biology, and sociology. Professionals in this field may also be trained in aspects of public health and policy.
Related: How To Find a Geriatrician
A gerontologist typically studies the processes that are associated with the natural bodily changes that occur from middle age onward as well as certain societal changes that arise from an aging population. The study of gerontology has evolved over the years as advances in modern medicine have improved longevity.
What is the Difference from Geriatrics?
Many people fail to recognize the difference between gerontology and geriatrics. Whereas gerontology is a multidisciplinary field of study that incorporates the mental, physical, and social aspects and implications of getting older, geriatrics is a medical specialty that is focused specifically on the health problems, care, and treatment of older adults.
Though these two fields of study emphasize different aspects of aging, both have the same goal – to better understand the process and implications of aging to help older adults maximize their function to achieve a higher quality of life in old age.
What Kind of Career Options Are There in Gerontology?
The field of gerontology is offers nearly limitless possibilities because it incorporates all aspects of aging, not just medical problems. People are aging differently today than they did a few decades ago, which opens up a whole new realm of possibilities.
An education in the field of gerontology might open up career opportunities in hospitals, universities, assisted living facilities, religious groups, and even legal or financial organization. Specific career options may include case management, research, direction or administration of assisted living facilities, counseling – you could also work as a policy advocate or lawyer specializing in the needs of older adults.
The field of gerontology continues to expand and change as the process of aging continues to change. Senior services used to only be available in nursing homes but now there are many different options for assisted living and long-term care. Services are available to help seniors manage their money, to learn how to use modern technology, and to remain active in a social community. Seniors in this day and age are able to maintain more of their independence by taking advantage of services that have risen out of developments in the field of gerontology and things will only continue to improve in the future.
If you or a loved one is approaching middle age, take a look around your area to see what kind of senior services might be available. Just because you are getting older doesn’t mean that you are doomed to lose your independence. Take advantage of modern senior services and keep living the life you want!
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