I’m really excited to have Christina Pierpaoli on the podcast. Christina is a graduate student in the Geropsychological doctoral program at the University of Alabama. Her research explores associations between chronic illness and psychological health in older adults, and she is by all accounts a rising star in the field of psychology.
For our listeners who may not be familiar with the literature, Geropsychology is the psychology of aging. As Christina puts it, this particular field of psychology can be described as “underrated, poorly understood, embryonic, and riddled with all sorts of stigma”. The world and the United States are aging precipitously, with the estimate that by 2030 1 in 5 Americans will be considered an older adult, but few people are talking about it.
In our conversation, Christina offers that “people are uncomfortable with talking about aging because talking about aging invites a conversation of mortality and finiteness” and speaks to the research showing that “the earlier and more often you think about your own mortality, the more gracefully you will live your life.”
Other things we talk about are the differences in language used to describe getting older when we are young vs. when we are older, unique issues older adults face that younger adults don’t, the idea of subjective age vs. chronological age vs. biological age, the role feeling useful plays in life satisfaction as we age, the idea of loneliness as “the silent killer”, why Christina is so interested in older people, and why she writes a blog about this topic.
Christina brings a unique combination of young and old spirit to the field, a refreshing take on academia and how to get the ideas she finds important into the minds of the people who’d find them useful. No matter your age, you’re sure to get something out of this podcast. Enjoy!