What is Gerontology?

Gerontology is the study of aging processes and individuals across the life course. It includes:

  • The study of physical, mental, and social changes in people as they age;
  • The investigation of changes in society resulting from our aging population; and
  • The application of this knowledge to policies and programs.

Gerontology is multidisciplinary in that it combines or integrates several separate areas of study. GSA fosters collaboration between physicians, nurses, biologists, behavioral and social scientists, psychologists, social workers, economists, policy experts, those who study the humanities and the arts, and many other scholars and researchers in aging. Geriatrics, the branch of medical science concerned with the prevention and treatment of diseases in older people, is a part of the broader field of gerontology.

As a result of the multidisciplinary focus of gerontology, professionals from diverse fields call themselves gerontologists. Gerontologists improve the quality of life and promote the well-being of people as they age through research, education, practice, and the application of interdisciplinary knowledge of the aging process and aging populations.

To learn more about gerontology's origins, read the opening article from Volume 1, Issue 1 of the Journal of Gerontology from 1946.

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