Lecture notes Gerontology, Groningen

Lecture: Introduction to gerontology

What is gerontology?

Gerontology is the study of social, biological and psychological aspects of aging. So, aging is the main focus of this course. This course also takes a neuropsychological approach. It shows a relation between (healthy) aging and changes in the brain. The signs and symptoms of common dementia syndromes, their neurobiological underpinnings and the consequences for the patients and their families will be discussed. Not only dementia but also other neurodegenerative diseases and other diseases related to aging are explained in this course.

Healthy aging

In our everyday lives, we talk about healthy aging a lot. For example by the media or at your university. This is also shown by the drawing: “Staircase of old age” (Trap des ouderdoms): We start at a point in the bottom (when we are born), then we all climb up. The text underneath the drawing says: we all go up and down. Some go down very softly, others with a bang. With this the painters mean that some are confronted with many diseases, others with none while getting older.

As years go by, the distribution of ages is changing. Distribution of ages in 1950 was equal for males and females. There were less people of a higher age and many babies. In 1990 the baby boom generation becomes visible. There is an increase in the number of adults. Also the number of 70 year olds and older is increased by then. Last year (2014) it becomes visible that the baby boom generation is getting older (between 50-60 ), there is an increase of older people and a big drop of births. A future prediction is that there will still be less births and more people getting older. This situation is mainly for developed countries. Less developed countries are more comparable to the triangle situation in 1950. But also in the less developed countries the distribution of ages is changing. But since aging is sometimes accompanied by... Interested? Read the instructions below in order to read the full content of this page.

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