Each of us is aging, has older adults in our family, and works with others who are aging. Developing an understanding of the changes associated with aging helps prepare us for our own experience, gives us insight into what those we care about may need, and gives us necessary skills for working with older adults. As the Baby Boomers continue to move into retirement age, those entering in the workforce need to be prepared to meet the needs of that generation in areas related to health, recreation, and maintaining a sense of purpose in life.
As the world’s population continues to age, many opportunities and challenges present themselves. One of the challenges is to foster a society that encourages older adults to remain actively engaged--by sharing their experiences, knowledge, and skills with younger generations. A second challenge lies in recognizing the increasing prevalence of chronic disease in this older population and being prepared to provide adequate and affordable health care. Another challenge is addressing stereotypes of aging that degrade and, ultimately, impair quality of life for both those stereotyped and for those who maintain these false illusions. These and other challenges and issues form the foundation of the Indiana State University Gerontology program. By understanding and addressing these central challenges facing older adults, students are well prepared to engage in a career that encompasses and embraces this growing population.