Gerontology versus Geriatrics: Different Ways of Understanding Ageing and Old Age
This chapter addresses both the points of similarity and difference in how ageing and old age have been viewed by gerontology and geriatric medicine. The authors argue that until relatively recently both disciplinary fields shared a common viewpoint that distinguished between age-associated illness and age-related decline. The former was represented as abnormal or pathological ageing and was recognised as the province of medicine; the latter was termed ‘normal’ ageing and formed the domain of the gerontological sciences – from the biological to the social. This modern distinction is now being questioned and with it the notion of the ‘normality’ of ageing. Age-associated disease is being re-presented as age related – with ageing being seen as constituting a multiplicity of pathways of decline. In social gerontology, this is leading to a more profound questioning both of the status and meaning attached to old age in contemporary society.
KeywordsGeriatric Medicine Pathological Ageing National Healthcare System Gerontological Society Ageing Paradigm
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