Gerontology is the study of the social, cultural, psychological, cognitive, and biological aspects of ageing. The word was coined by Ilya Ilyich Mechnikov in 1903, from the Greek γέρων, geron, "old man" and -λογία, -logia, "study of". The field is distinguished from geriatrics, which is the branch of medicine that specializes in the treatment of existing disease in older adults. Gerontologists include researchers and practitioners in the fields of biology, nursing, medicine, criminology, dentistry, social work, physical and occupational therapy, psychology, psychiatry, sociology, economics, political science, architecture, geography, pharmacy, public health, housing, and anthropology.
Living organisms including humans are social when they live collectively in interacting populations, whether they are aware of it, and whether the interaction is voluntary or involuntary.