gerontology

The study of the processes of ageing , old age, and the elderly. Frequently viewed as a branch of biology, with a focus on the role of genetic factors (the extent to which ageing is pre-programmed), the study of the social aspects of ageing, sometimes termed social gerontology, is now well established. Interest in ageing has grown enormously with twentieth-century demographic changes. Increases in life expectancy and reduction in childbearing have transformed the age-structures of the population of advanced industrial societies, increasing significantly the proportions of the elderly (usually defined as persons aged 65 or over). Since the use of many forms of welfare provision (especially health care, personal social services, and state benefits) rises markedly amongst those over 65, increases in the numbers of the elderly (especially in the growing numbers of those aged 75 or over) are of major concern to policy-makers and policy analysts.
However, although policy issues are of great importance, the sociological contribution to gerontology comes from the study and analysis of age as a social category, and of the way in which the structures of society shape the ageing process, including the way it is experienced by individuals. The status of the elderly varies significantly across time, place, and social arrangements, including the extent to which retirement policies, pension provisions, and housing can foster independence or generate dependence, with important implications for physical and psychological health. There is growing awareness of the salience both of stratification by age and of ageism in society.

Dictionary of sociology. 2013.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Gerontology — (from the Greek γέρων, geron, old man and λογία, logy, study of ; coined by Ilya Ilyich Mechnikov in 1903) is the study of the social, psychological and biological aspects of aging. It is distinguished from geriatrics, which is the branch of… …   Wikipedia

  • gerontology — gerontology. См. геронтология. (Источник: «Англо русский толковый словарь генетических терминов». Арефьев В.А., Лисовенко Л.А., Москва: Изд во ВНИРО, 1995 г.) …   Молекулярная биология и генетика. Толковый словарь.

  • gerontology — 1903, coined in English from Gk. geron (gen. gerontos) old man, from PIE root *gere to become ripe, grow old (Cf. Skt. jara old age, jarati makes frail, causes to age; Avestan zaurvan old age; Ossetic zarond old man; Armenian cer o …   Etymology dictionary

  • gerontology — ► NOUN ▪ the scientific study of old age and old people. DERIVATIVES gerontological adjective gerontologist noun …   English terms dictionary

  • gerontology — [jer΄ən täl′ə jē] n. [Gr geronto < gerōn (see GERIATRICS) + LOGY] the scientific study of the process of aging and of the problems of aged people: see GERIATRICS gerontological [jər΄əntə läj′i kəl] adj. gerontologist n …   English World dictionary

  • gerontology — noun a) the study of the elderly, and of the aging process itself. b) the branch of science that deals with the problems of aged people. It is to be distinguished from geriatrics, which is the study of the diseases of the elderly. Gerontology… …   Wiktionary

  • gerontology — [[t]ʤe̱rəntɒ̱ləʤi[/t]] N UNCOUNT Gerontology is the study of the process by which we get old, how our bodies change, and the problems that old people have …   English dictionary

  • gerontology — noun Etymology: International Scientific Vocabulary Date: 1903 the comprehensive study of aging and the problems of the aged compare geriatric 1 • gerontological also gerontologic adjective • gerontologist noun …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • gerontology — n. [Gr. gerontos, old man; logos, discourse] The study of aging …   Dictionary of invertebrate zoology

  • gerontology — gerontological /jeuh ron tl oj i keuhl/, adj. gerontologist, n. /jer euhn tol euh jee, jear /, n. the branch of science that deals with aging and the problems of aged persons. [1900 05; GERONTO + LOGY] * * * …   Universalium

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