The Rationale for the Study of Aging and Gerontology

THE RATIONALE FOR THE STUDY OF AGING AND GERONTOLOGY 5

TheRationale for the Study of Aging and Gerontology

TheRationale for the Study of Aging and Gerontology

Humanaging is one of the most important aspects of life and demographicsthat needs to be understood for proper planning of human life. Thestudy of human aging is therefore important for understanding thebiological, social and psychological impact of the process. The studyof aging is encompassed in Gerontology,a study of the social, biological, cognitive and psychologicalaspects of aging.Studying aging, therefore provides the knowledge to understand theprocess and the factors that affect the older population in thesociety. The discussion about aging and Gerontologywill present a rationale for the study and explanation of itsimportance. Moreover, the discussion will define the old and presentthe reasons why studying it is important.Reductionof old age, health burden and disability is one of the mainrationales of studying aging and Gerontology.As people age, their health needs increase and so is their need formedical and social attention. According to Dr. Luigi Ferrucci,studying aging processes helps in the discovery of the solutions todiseases and disabilities related to aging and old age (Ferrucci,2010). Ferrucci (2010) further explains that he undertook to studyGerontology and become a geriatrician in order to fully understandhow to handle the old people and address the problems faced by theold people. These needs should be addressed in order to fully caterto the concerns about the wellbeing of the aged. This makes the studyof aging and Gerontology important aspects of the study.Thesociety is continually changing as the demographics change to thefavor of the aged people. This is observed by the increase in thepopulation of the aged in the society. The number of older adults inthe United States has increased, with a higher projection in thefuture (Lecture1, 2015).The size of the older adults in the United States in 1900 was3million people, which grew to 35million in 2005 and is expected torise to 75 million people by 2050 (Lecture1, 2015).This shows that the need for specialized care for older people willis high, and is expected to increase in the future. Therefore thestudy of aging and Gerontologyis necessary today in order to promote expertise in caring for theaged.Inaddition, understanding the changes that take place with aging isanother rationale for the study of aging and Gerontology.The study of aging allows the investigation of the biological changesof the processes, mental, physical and psychological changes that areassociated with aging. This understanding of these changes provides abasis of evaluatingthe needs of the society as the population changes(Fries &amp Crapo, n.d). Moreover,anunderstanding of thesocial dynamics of older people is another rationale for studyingaging and Gerontology.Studyingaging and Gerontologyfacilitates the comprehension of why and how people age, and theexpected changes (Fries &amp Crapo, n.d). This gives Gerontology therationale for study and provides a reason why people should considerstudying aging.Thedefinition of the word “old” is diverse but takes a specificdescription in relation to what is not old. The word “old” is thecharacteristic of having spent a long time in existence, such that asubject is termed to have lived for long compared to the young. It isthe living characteristic of living longer and not being young. Inrelation to old age in human beings, “old” is the characteristicof a person having lived for many years compared to the young. Thereasoning behind the definition is that being old is always describedor defined in relation to another subject or a standard. For a personto be old, he or she has to be compared to the number of years thatare considered to be old age, or compared to another person who isconsidered to be younger. This is the basis of having relative wordslike younger, older and aged among others.Theage of 85 is commonly considered to be a higher age limit that peoplebecome older in the society. To understand the social, biological,psychological and cognitive needs of the people at this oldest-oldage level, it is important to study the age(Fries &amp Crapo, n.d). Thestudy of the oldest-old, or the age over 85 years is importantbecause it exposes a person to the special needs of the people atthis age level. This allows people to know how to handle them and howto develop solutions for the problems facing themInaddition, the study of this age is important as it prepares thesociety for the future, where the population will be dominated by theaged people. This is because the life expectancy age is graduallyincreasing as people are inventing better life and higher standardsof living. While life expectancy in the U.S was 47 years in 1900 andcurrently at 78 years, the same standard is expected to rise tomid-80s by the year 2050 (Lecture1, 2015).Therefore, studying this age will help the society to handle the manypeople who will be hitting the oldest-old age of over 85 years in thefuture. References

Ferrucci,L. (2010). Healthy Aging Lessons from the Baltimore LongitudinalStudy of Aging. Nationalinstitute on aging,08-6440,September 2008

Fries,J.F., &amp Crapo, L. (n.d). Vitalityand Aging: Implication of the Rectangular Curve.Provided reading

Lecture1, 2015, Lesson 1: The Older Population in theUnitesStates and Global Aging. 2015Pearson Education, Inc,2/17/2015