Gerontology is a study relevant to seniors in and out of nursing homes. In this article, we’ll define the term “gerontology” and explain how it relates to nursing home abuse.

Key Takeaways

  • Gerontology is the multidisciplinary study of aging
  • Gerontology is increasingly important as the American population is getting older
  • Like gerontology, nursing homes aim to improve the quality of life of older adults
  • It is important for older adults living in nursing homes to be aware of the risk of nursing home abuse

What Is Gerontology?

Gerontology is a multidisciplinary field studying the physical, mental, social, and societal impacts of aging. This is in contrast to geriatrics, which exclusively focuses on the medical aspects of the aging body. 

As a multidisciplinary field, gerontology fosters collaboration between professionals from many different fields including physicians, nurses, biologists, social scientists, psychologists, social workers, economists, politicians, and other scholars. 

Gerontology is increasingly important as the adult population in the United States and worldwide continues to age and make up a larger percentage of the general population. Gerontologists aim to improve the quality of life and promote the well-being of these people as they age. 

Some focuses of gerontology include studying:

  • How people age
  • Physical, mental, and social changes associated with aging
  • How society changes as a result of the aging population
  • The differences between generations
  • How people experience aging differently

Gerontologists work on a variety of things including:

  • Applying biology to the study of aging
  • Apply psychology to the study of aging
  • Researching policies and technologies applied to aging

Gerontology and Nursing Home Abuse

One possible application of the gerontological field is to study how to improve the condition of seniors in nursing homes. Nursing homes are facilities for the residential care of disabled or older adults intended to help their patients maintain a high quality of life. They also employ professionals from a variety of disciplines including doctors, nurses, administrative assistants, dieticians, physical therapists, and more. 

Unfortunately, nursing home patients are vulnerable to mistreatment and abuse and, according to the World Health Organization, two-thirds of nursing home staff members have even admitted to abusing residents. For this reason, all adults – including but not limited to nursing home patients and their loved ones - should be aware of the risk of nursing home abuse and the importance of nursing home residents’ welfare. As gerontologists continue to work toward improving the older population’s quality of life, we must all do our part to look out for nursing home abuse and report it if we suspect something.

If you or a loved one experienced nursing home abuse, you have recourse. The law guarantees nursing home residents the right to a safe living space free of abuse. If this right has been violated, you should make a report to the authorities. You can also contact a nursing home abuse lawyer for guidance about how to pursue justice.

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