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Aging in the 21st Century

older couple walking along

The Interdisciplinary Program in Gerontology

It is a fact that as of January 2011, the baby boomers started to join the “senior” segment of the US population, as they turned 65, once again setting “change” in motion. They once were the hippies, peace loving demonstrators against racial discrimination and war, and the ones who stood for civil rights. Later on, they became the yuppies who stimulated the economy by buying and selling homes, creating a world-wide economic market as the Cold War came to an end.

It is hard to believe that this “trend setting generation” is once again setting in motion a change on American beliefs and values as we reexamine the delivery of social services, the production of goods, housing, health care, and how Americans view the aging process itself.

The Human life span has expanded tremendously in the last century or so. It is estimated that in 1900 there were approximately 3 million Americans who were 65 and older. Just a little over one hundred years later, according to the figures published by the US Census Bureau, the number of seniors age 65 and older is now 36.3 million which is about 12% of the total US population. This number also includes about 3.7 million foreign-born seniors, age 65 and older, who reside in the US. Given the current rate of growth, that number is expected to grow to 86.7 million by the year 2050. That will make up about 21% of the total US population.

man showing kids a photo album

This is why the field of Gerontology is ever evolving. Professionals from diverse backgrounds and multidisciplinary areas of study can specialize in the study of aging which makes them more competitive in the job market.

California State University, Northridge offers a 15 unit certificate program for people who have already obtained a bachelor’s degree in health and human services or a related field. This certificate also complements many graduate degree programs and can be taken concurrently with other graduate courses. For undergraduate students there is a 21 unit minor option which can be obtained concurrently with their bachelor’s degree.

For questions regarding the graduate Gerontology certificate program or the undergraduate minor, please contact Juan Oliva, Gerontology Program Advisor, at juan.c.oliva@csun.edu. You can also visit us online at www.csun.edu/hhd/hsci/gerontology. For questions regarding career and job opportunities in the field of Gerontology please visit: www.careersinaging.com.

- Juan Oliva
Family and Consumer Sciences Faculty
and Gerontology Program Advisor