The word gerontology comes from the Greek word geron, meaning “old man,” and the Greek word –logia, meaning “study of.” Gerontology is different from geriatrics, which is the branch of medicine that specializes in the treatment of older adults – the opposite of pediatrics.
Gerontology is the study of the physical aspects of aging, as well as the mental, social and societal implications of aging. By 2050, about one-in-five Americans will be over age 65. It includes:
the study of physical, mental, and social changes in older people as they age
the investigation of the changes in society resulting from our aging population
the application of this knowledge to policies and programs. As a result of the multidisciplinary focus of gerontology, professionals from diverse fields call themselves "gerontologists"
Geriatrics is the study of health and disease in later life
the comprehensive health care of older persons and the well-being of their informal caregiver
Gerontologists improve the quality of life and promote the well-being of persons as they age within their families, communities and societies through research, education and application of interdisciplinary knowledge of the aging process and aging populations.
According to the latest statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau nearly 13% of the U.S. population is over the age of 65. This percentage is expected to grow to nearly 20% over the next 30 years. With such a large number of the population aging, Gerontology has become a popular area of study.
In many cases, people who are aging are alone, and look to their medical professionals and care takers as friends and companions.
Working with them provides and emotional fulfillment in addition to a professional one. Careers in the field of gerontology and aging are growing, and job opportunities are easy to find. If you choose gerontology, you’ll be embarking on a career that is secure and fulfilling.
Eldercare is the fastest growing sector within the healthcare industry, and it is poised to continue growing. There will be job opportunities for medical professionals and others working with older populations as the numbers increase—especially as baby boomers retire. These career opportunities come with the added benefit of making a difference in someone’s life.
Fastest Growing Careers in Gerontology
Careers in aging are not the next big thing. They are the new big thing. People are living longer and the number of older adults is increasing, along with the diversity of their needs and interests. In addition to this growth, many states predict dramatic workforce shortages in industries that provide services to our aging population.
Studying gerontology and aging and geriatric research is beneficial for many careers, including but not limited to:
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