The study of all aspects of the aging process. By it's very nature, this is an interdisciplinary field, spanning genetics, biochemistry, medicine, physiology, and cell and molecular biology. The goal of gerontology is not only to prolong the human lifespan but also to improve the quality of life through making the youthful, healthy phase of life last as long as possible.

This is also an area of sociological study that considers the social implications of age on human interaction. This includes the more obvious such as the effect of age on status, economic shifts along the lifespan, and degree of active participation in parts of society that are considered mainstream. I've seen a lot of work with the elderly rejoining the work force lately with a focus on the socialization aspects instead of the usual economic analysis.

Another important part of this (inter)discipline is the evaluation of social policy in regards to age. This encompasses pension/retirement, healthcare, and the hotly debated housing issue. This is important because the elderly (usually defined in research as 65 or older depending on which country the study took place in) are increasingly dependent on social services. This kind of analysis is necessary given the hysterical need (in the United States anyway) to blame welfare budget problems on single parents and fraud. The expansion of research in gerontology helps clear up some of these statistical fallacies.

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