HCS 548 – Foundations of Gerontology
February 20, 2012
Patti Yudelson, MSN, RN
Gerontology is a fairly new multidisciplinary field focusing on several aspects of the aging process. Gerontologists study the aging process of the physical, mental and social changes in our aging population. Gerontology also includes investigating the effects on society resulting from our aging population. As humans, we are constantly trying to deny the fact that we are aging. As young adults, we see that the aging process is so far away in the distance, and never really are prepared for it when it creeps up and starts to hit us. Then, middle age approaches and we are clearly faced with the reality of our changing body. It may begin with subtle changes, but because of societies social pressure we try everything we can to look young again. I do not believe that there will come a time when society will stop trying to deny the aging process. The reality is that everyone will age, and as long as the society we live in focuses on exterior beauty, people will go to extreme lengths to make their outer bodies look younger. The younger generations see the aging process as a negative and societal pressure have made it such that the aging population start having plastic surgeries, extreme diets and spend millions of dollars to try to look and keep young. This leads to the topic of cosmetics and appearance. Unfortunately, for those in midlife and beyond, current medical aesthetics increasingly suggest that the more one's skin changes with age and diverges from youthful standards, the less "normal" and desirable an individual's appearance becomes. Many gerontologists and related practitioners now focus on "positive aging" rather than traditional conceptions of aging that emphasize the "problems of aging," with the goal of providing alternative representations of later life and challenging ageist stereotypes. Indeed, many forces are currently working...