Gerontology is about the study of human aging. You will learn about the biological, social, and behavioral changes that go along with aging.
While Geriatrics focuses on all of the medical issues that are associated with aging, Gerontology also incorporates social issues such as stigmas surrounding old age and the way the elderly are portrayed in historical literature, philosophy, and religion. You will learn how people can maintain good health in old age through exercise, eating well, and staying active mentally. The valuable information you learn will help you aid many individuals to healthier and happier lives.
Courses you can expect in to take will include: Biology of Aging, Aging and Health, Death and Dying, Biology of Adult Development, Society and Adult Development, Service Learning with the Elderly, Psychology of Aging, Sociology of Aging, and Power, Values, and Politics in Aging Society.
Students with an interest in Gerontology are people-persons. Many of your classes will require field work as a volunteer for an agency that works with older people. Patience and gentleness when working with others will lead you to success.
Students should learn to manage their time well as they juggle classes in biology, sociology, and psychology. Students will need to memorize important formulas and theories in order to apply them in different situations. You will be learning material from many different subjects so integrating the information is important.
This field requires a caring personality. You will come alongside others and help them deal with issues such as death of a loved one, illness and pain. Learn to collaborate with others in order to provide the best service possible. Different perspectives will help to open your mind to a vast amount of possible solutions.
Many graduates who major in Gerontology continue their studies. Getting an advanced degree allows you to become an advanced-practice nurse, an occupational therapist, mental health counselor, physical therapist, or a public interest lawyer. For those who wish to land a job after graduating college, they may find positions working in senior centers, assisted living or nursing homes. They are also well prepared to work for government programs and other agencies that serve retired people. Due to the aging population, jobs working with senior citizens are expected to grow.
Here is a small sample of the careers that a degree in Gerontology might open up.