Aging Today: Psychology and Public Health
Who are the people in late adulthood? What are the worlds in which they live? How do they prepare for their future? How do their social identities shape their choices and opportunities?
In this program, students and faculty will take an interdisciplinary approach to understanding aging, the human body, and human health. We will use the lenses of psychology and public health to explore how experiences of aging vary across individuals, as well as across populations with different, intersectional racial, economic, cultural, and dis/ability backgrounds. We will also consider the sum of one’s life experiences, including how individuals make sense of events in their own lives.
Our study of psychology will explore physical, cognitive, and social development during middle age (40–65), and late adulthood (ages 65 and older). Using a lifespan perspective, we will consider the stability and change (gains and losses) across these domains. We will consider the social context, including social interactions with family and friends, retirement, and perceptions of older adults. We will also explore end of life issues such as caring for older adults and attitudes about death.
We'll also learn about the public health approach to studying health and disease at the population level, and how it lets us see the impacts that social, racial, political, and economic realities have on our bodies over our lifetimes. We will consider policies as both root causes of ill health and as solutions. We will also examine human biology and the ways that our bodies change as they age, and spend time with the health conditions that reflect common health inequities in older folks such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Students will learn about selected topics in human anatomy and physiology, and have the option to carry out a dissection of a (non-human) heart and lungs.
This program will lead students through intermediate-to-advanced work in the Psychology, Health, and Community Path of Study. Any students interested in psychology, health, or science (and more!) who have solid academic skills are welcome to join us.
psychology, public health, social work, human services, working with older adults