Material Type:
Community College / Lower Division
Ohio Open Ed Collaborative
  • Oss0212
  • Sociology
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial
    Media Formats:

    Discuss aging and the elderly, the impact on domestic and global societies


    OER Text Material

    Sociology: Understanding and Changing the Social World, Sections: 12.1-12.6

    The study of aging is so important and popular that it has its own name, gerontology. Social gerontology is the study of the social aspects of aging (Hooyman & Kiyak, 2011).The scholars who study aging are called gerontologists. The people they study go by several names, most commonly “older people,” “elders,” and “the elderly.” The latter term is usually reserved for those 65 or older, while “older people” and “elders” (as the headline of the opening news story illustrates) often include people in their 50s as well as those 60 or older.

    Supplementary Material (Videos and Reading)

    1. Lumen – Introduction to Sociology​ – Aging and the Elderly
      Understanding aging and the elderly experience. By the end of this section, you will be able to:
      1. Understand the difference between senior age groups (young-old, middle-old, and old-old)
      2. Describe the “graying of the United States” as the population experiences increased life expectancies
      3. Examine aging as a global issue
    2. Sociology Guide:​ A Student’s Guide to Sociology – Ageing and the Elderly
      Growing old is a complex and gradual process having biological, psychological and social dimensions, which not only do not fully correspond with one another but also do not exactly coincide with one's chronological age. It is, however, true that the chronological age is an index of the growing and developmental process that goes on in the biological, psychological and sociological dimensions, and, therefore, the chronological definition of what constitutes old age is useful for purposes of study.
    3. Introduction to Sociology – 1st Canadian Edition – Chapter 13: Aging and the Elderly
      Age is not merely a biological function of the number of years one has lived, or of the physiological changes the body goes through during the life course. It is also a product of the social norms and expectations that apply to each stage of life. Age represents the wealth of life experiences that shape whom we become. 
    4. Fresh Perspectives from Aging Faces: A Positive Aging Video by Bay Alarm Medical (YouTube video, published Feb. 17, 2016)
      Join four seniors—Ed, Isobel, Alfred, and Roz--in this inspirational piece on positive aging as Bay Alarm Medical explores the amazing journeys, reflection, and life wisdom only seniors can offer.


    1. Data in the News source:​ [unsure of which link to use] 
      Data in the News is a part of a portal of teaching and learning resources for infusing quantitative literacy into social science curriculum.
    2. The Graying of America:​ More Older Adults than Kids by 2035 (United States Census Bureau)
      In less than two decades, the graying of America will be inescapable: Older adults are projected to outnumber kids for the first time in U.S. history.