Gerontology is the comprehensive, multi-disciplinary study of aging processes across the life course, middle-aged and older adults, and aging populations. It is a holistic focus on the complex intersection of biological, social, psychological, and economic issues. The multidisciplinary nature of gerontology means that there are a number of sub-fields and associated fields. The field of gerontology is actually quite broad, containing many professionals who focus on various aspects of aging and development. Gerontology is not the same as geriatrics, which is a medical specialty focused on the health care and treatment of older persons. Gerontology is consistent with defining health as holistic physical, mental, and social well-being; not merely the absence of disease.
- The primary outcome of a revised framework for health and wellness in aging is to: Increase the number of adults who are healthy in later life (65+). This includes a focus on providing education to older adults and prevention education for mid-life and earlier life stage individuals.
- Life course perspective reflects the intersection of social and historical factors with personal biography and development. A life course perspective recognizes that health and well-being a function of cumulative advantages and disadvantages; early life course decisions, opportunities, and conditions affect later outcomes. Individual choices, opportunities, and social context influence an individual’s health and wellness and life course transitions and trajectories with rippling and/or domino effects.
- Healthy and safe environments suggests a social-ecological perspective with various interacting systems that influence aging in a social context. These include family systems, community and social systems, and cultural and societal systems. It is proposed that these be added to a revised framework for health and wellness in aging.