Message from the Coordinator

Lisa Hall, Ph.D.
Coordinator, Gerontology Program

"GERONTOLOGY" What's Gerontology? Why should you care?
IT COULD MAKE YOU $$$ MORE MARKETABLE $$$. LET'S TALK! Gerontology Program faculty are always happy to share their passion for the field of aging with others!

What is it? Gerontology is the study of aging, older adults, and age-related issues, changes, and disorders.

Why learn about it? In 1900, people over the age of 65 accounted for approximately 4% of the United States population - it was relatively rare to live that long in those days. Currently, older adults constitute 13% of the U.S. population - big change! By the year 2030, this percentage is expected to increase to 20-25%. In addition, the fastest growing segment of this aging population consists of adults over the age of 85! What does this mean for individuals interested in working with seniors? There is and will continue to be, an urgent need for professionals educated in Gerontology. Majoring in Gerontology will provide students with an interdisciplinary foundation for pursuing a career in the field of aging.

Why me? As a result of the rapidly growing senior population, there are a variety of career opportunities available in the field of gerontology and more to come! Even if you don't major in Gerontology, chances are, regardless of the career field you choose, you will be interacting with greater and greater numbers of older adults. For instance, Business and Marketing majors and Inventors should know the needs and wants of older potential clients. Legislators owe it to older Americans to know how the decisions they make and legislation they pass impacts this segment of the population. Social service workers should understand the changes that occur across the adult lifespan, the challenges and issues relevant to older adults, and how all of these affect relationships and society in general. Physicians, physician assistant assistants, nurse practitioners, nurses and other health care providers need training specifically related to older adults in order to provide high quality health care. Pharmacists must know the effects of particular drugs and dosages on older adults. Basic scientists may want to understand the age-related changes that occur in everything from human cells to systems. These are just a few examples. In addition, you will better understand the older adults in your life, and be better prepared for your own later years.

Myths & Stereotypes: Older adults are boring. Older adults can't learn new skills and information. Older adults don't contribute to family or society. Older adults don't have sex. Most older adults living in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities. The truth is that the population of older adults is just as diverse in age, ability, and interests as other age groups. As a result, career opportunities working with seniors vary widely.

BEST "MAJOR" BARGAIN ON CAMPUS! You can earn a PSYCHOLOGY/GERONTOLOGY DOUBLE MAJOR for as few as 125 credit hours (same as a major/minor combination)! This makes you more marketable. Ask us about it!

Major & Minor: We also offer a traditional comprehensive Gerontology major and a Gerontology minor.

Careers: Someone with a degree in Gerontology can work with healthy, active seniors living in their community (senior center director, organizer of community senior volunteers, liaison with a senior program in a hospital). They can work with frail older adults in a skilled nursing facility (long-term care administrator, physical or occupational therapist, activities director) or in the home of seniors (home-health professional, case manager). Other gerontologists may be interested in advocating for seniors in a community or political setting. Additionally, gerontology graduates can pursue graduate education or additional training in other fields that target older adults, for example, financial and estate planning, physical therapy, recreation and leisure, advertising, business and many more. Access the Careers and Outcomes page on the Gerontology website for more information.

Benefits of a small program like Gerontology: Personalized advising with special attention on your future career goals, interesting and challenging classes, support from Ger students, and the Gerontology Club.

Please browse the Gerontology website for more information. If you have any specific questions or think you might be interested in the Psychology/Gerontology double major, or the Gerontology major or minor, contact us. No obligations or strings attached!

What do you have to lose?