While gerontology and gerontological social work have similarities, they are separate fields, each with their own perspective on aging and older adults.
Social workers assist individuals, groups, or communities to restore or enhance their capacity for social functioning, while creating or changing societal conditions favorable to their goals. The practice of social work requires knowledge of human development and behavior, social, economic and cultural institutions, and the interaction of all these factors (NASW). Gerontological social work is a type of social work practice that focuses on older adults, their families, and caregivers.
Social Gerontology is the study of biological, psychological and social changes as people age; the investigation of societal changes resulting from and impacting the aging population; and the application of this knowledge to practice, policies and programs. Geriatrics is often used in reference to the aging process and the study of disease in later life and is used more in the medical and nursing professions (AGHE). However, both apply to social work since social workers in health care have to understand and be involved in both geriatrics and gerontology.