Gerontology is one of the subject developed to address a key social issue; aging. That is because aging is marked by misunderstandings that result to stereotyping the old aged and people relying on myths in describing and even relating with the old adults. In that view, this discussion seeks explain he foundational concepts of the subject explaining how the subject is multifaceted and collaborative rather than being single subject knowledge. Finally, the discussion explains the subject’s theories are tied to the myths and stereotypes.
Gerontology has four key foundational concepts including the biological aging, chronological aging, psychological nagging and social aging. Those define the aging dimensions according to gerontologists. The dimension that is mostly thought of by the community is the chronological aging that can be defined as he years since one was born. The second dimension is called biological aging that refers to physical changes in one’s body as they get into the middle as well as older age. For instance, one's arteries may clog up; lungs may have problems making it difficult to breathe. The third dimension is the psychological aging that refers to psychological changes that include changes in personality and mental functioning occurring with age. In that respect, gerontologists have an emphasis that the chronological age differs with biological and psychological age as some people a 65, can look as well as act as if they are much younger compared to some aged 50 (Howe, 2009, p. 450).
The last dimension of the aging process is the social aging that refers to the changes in one's relationships and roles within networks of friends, relatives and formal organizations including worship centers and workplaces. However, although the social aging may differ on an individual basis, it is profoundly subject to influences of the perceptions of the aging process defined by society’s culture. If the society views the aging process positively, then the social aging experience for individuals in the society is more positive as well as enjoyable compared with a society where aging is viewed negatively. Finally, the cohort is also a key concept used in gerontology and refers to the age categories such as groups in their sixties or groups in seventies (Novak, 2012, p. 27).
Gerontology as multifaceted and collaborative
Gerontology is a subject comprising of knowledge from the various field of studies. In that respect, it collaborates knowledge on the human body development, societal development and social relations and other factors studies such as economic, cultural and political aspects of society. As the comprehensive study of aging as well as the related problems of the aged, it differs from some specific studies such as Geriatrics that strictly focuses on medical conditions as well as diseases affecting the aging (Wadensten, 2007, p. 290). Thus, gerontology acts as a multidisciplinary study incorporating biology, sociology and psychology. Given that gerontology addresses multi-faceted aging aspects is professionals are found in various industries such as government, healthcare, business community and nonprofits organizations hence being a collaborative study (Goldberg, Rogers, Koontz & Brickell, 2012, p. 102).
Major theories’ tie to stereotypes and myths
Old age is marked by various stereotypes and myths with limited understanding of the aging process and the old people’s status. In that respect, gerontology’s theories seeks to address some of the myths and stereotypes by explaining the aging process hence shedding light on the factors that affect aging and the old people’s status as individuals as well as part of the society in addition to their capabilities and difference with the rest (Howe, 2009, p. 452). Stereotypes have been useful in camouflaging social arrangements imposed on the aged people in the society. They act as unspoken assumptions that are used as a basis for scientific theories construction. In that respect, the primary theories end to categorize the aged in groups with generalized characteristics from which their roles, responsibilities, status and differences with society are used for the theories construction (Cox, 2006, p. 30).
Given the discussion, aging has four key concepts or dimensions that define the types and processes that an individual goes through as they advance in years from birth to the older age. The four have been identified as the chronological aging that entails advanced in years, biological aging that entails advance in body parts, social aging, and the psychological aging. In addition, the discussion have identified gerontology as multifaceted and collaborative given that it is a combination of various studies and subjects that entails considering different factors influencing people throughout their lives as well as the process that they follow through various age groups. Thus, gerontology is not a single science but a collaboration of studies that takes various professions including sociologists, biologists, and psychologists to put together the knowledge comprehensively describing the process. Finally, the discussion has noted that aging is associated with stereotypes and myths that have been applied to key assumptions in some aging theories. In that respect, major theories are tied to the myths and stereotypes given the general characterization of the aged people.
Cox, H. (2006). Later Life: The Realities of Aging. 6th Ed. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
Goldberg, L., Rogers, N., Koontz, J. & Brickell, J. (2012). Considering accreditation in gerontology: the importance of inter-professional collaborative competencies to ensure quality health care for older adults. Gerontology Education, 33(1), 95-110.
Novak, M. (2012). Issues in aging. 4th Ed. New York: Pearson Publishers.
Howe, C. (2009). Selected Gerontology Theories and Older people's Leisure Involvement: A Review of the Literature. Journal of Applied Gerontology, 6, 448-463.
Wadensten, B. (2007). The gerotranscendence theory as applied in gerontological nursing - Part I, International Journal of Older People Nursing 2, 289-294.