Each of us is aging - every day beyond the age of 30 years, our physical reserves slowly decrease, until at some point the time comes when the maintenance of all organ functions is not so easy: First restrictions occur.
What is the science of aging?
In gerontology, the science of aging, the current problems of the elderly are being researched. Gerontology is still a relatively young branch of science - the first German chair was founded in 1986 in Heidelberg. Since many problems of aging need to be considered from different perspectives, gerontology includes different disciplines:
The most well-known is certainly Geriatrics, which looks after diseases in old age, in addition to gerontopsychology and psychiatry, which researches and treats mental illness in old age, social gerontology and gerontosociology, which are primarily concerned with social and sociological aspects, and the elderly which very pragmatically supports older people with its institutions. Other disciplines such as demography, biogerontology, psychotherapy and senior citizens management are also represented in the four areas of "Experimental Gerontology", "Geriatric Medicine", "Social and Behavioral Gerontology" and "Social Gerontology and Retirement Work", which are taught at the universities.
Why do we need gerontology?
The people in Germany and Europe are getting older and older and the population is changing to the point that there are more and more older and less and less young people. This circumstance - that is, more and more old people who are getting older and older - is called double aging. The fastest growing group of people over the age of 80 - by 2030, about 6% of the population will be older than 80 years. The increase in older population groups poses many challenges to our society:
- How should the working life be shaped in the future?
- How should fewer and fewer people finance pensions for more and more pensioners?
- Is the increase in a senior economy a growing industry?
- Can Voluntary Engagement in Honorary Offices Eliminate Old-age Unemployment in Recognition?
- How must apartments, offices, everyday objects be designed to fit in with this growing population?
Gerontology tries to find answers to these questions - this is reflected in particular in the so-called "Altenberichte", which have been presented in Germany since 1992 by each government for each legislative period (currently the 5th old report is being processed). In these, independent experts present the current situation of the elderly, and the government responds to these representations with an opinion or concrete decisions.