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Module 1: Social Gerontology - Overview/Learning Outcomes/ Key Terms

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MODULE 1: SOCIAL GERONTOLOGY - OVERVIEW/LEARNING OUTCOMES/ KEY TERMS

CHAPTER 1

OVERVIEW

In this first section, you are presented with an introduction to the field of gerontology, which addresses the social, psychological, physical, and demographic concerns related to aging and introduces the role of the person-environment perspective to study issues relevant to aging. Due to an increasing interest in understanding the process of aging and the changing demographics of the world, including the United States, gerontology is a growing field. More and more people in the U.S. are living beyond age 65 or even 85, with these "oldest old" as the fastest growing age group among Americans. The population of older adults in the U.S. is also becoming more ethnically diverse, although elders of color generally have a lower life expectancy due to health and economic disparities. The growth of the older population has raised questions as to whether our nation is prepared to meet the health care and social service needs of this group and their families.

Given the growth in the number of older adults, society needs to address the public policy issues related to aging, including assessing the appropriateness of current policy and exploring innovative policy to meet the changing needs of older adults. Researching policy and social issues related to aging poses some challenges to gerontologists. The important question centers on being able to distinguish age differences from cohort differences. Improvements in gerontological research, such as the use of longitudinal studies and sequential designs, have been made, but more exploration is needed.

LEARNING OUTCOMES

You should be able to:

Define aging, gerontology, social gerontology, and geriatrics
Describe the active aging framework and the person-environment perspective answer according to our textbook and

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