What is Gerontology?
Gerontology deals with the process of aging. Students of gerontology study not only the physiological and sensory changes that occur with aging, but also the social roles and expectations, stereotypes, and unique social and economic issues which define the aging experience in society.
Is Gerontology For You?
Changes in population size and composition have consequences for every aspect of American life. For example, as the “baby boom” children age and continue to compose the dominant segment of the American population, they have crowded classrooms, face a limited job market, and are contributing to the single family housing boom. As they age they will be demanding other types of housing and services. An understanding of the biological, physiological and sociocultural aspects of aging is necessary not only for people working with older adults but also for the majority of us who will be old someday. The study of gerontology contributes to preparing for our own aging, as well as understanding aging parents and our aging population. The undergraduate gerontology coordinator has information that can help each student combine the gerontology minor with their chosen major.
Persons over age 65 now number more than 30 million and make up more than 12 percent of the American population. Over the next 40 years, their numbers will rise to 66 million, or almost 22 percent of our population. As the number of older persons in our society continues to increase, it will be important for people in every occupation and profession to have a basic understanding of the aging process. It is the goal of the program to provide UNC Charlotte students with this basic understanding. You may be interested in a future career related to gerontology. Projections indicate opportunities in fields as diverse as city planning, administration, management, recreation, counseling, physical therapy, social work, program development, research, nursing home administration, and geriatric nursing.
Multidisciplinary and Interdisciplinary Focus
Invariably, the best research, training, and service programs in gerontology develop when professionals from a variety of traditional disciplines are afforded the opportunity to work together, each contributing a unique expertise while benefiting from the expertise of others. The minor in gerontology at UNC Charlotte is built around a core sequence of interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary courses taught by professionals from a variety of different academic disciplines. This approach is designed to bring together information form multidisciplinary sources, integrate theoretical and applied concepts in gerontology, and communicate to students the need for a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches in meeting the need of older persons.