Improving quality of life in later years 

The behavioral gerontology special interest group (BGSIG) is a special interest group of the Association for Behavior Analysis International. The BGSIG provides a forum for students, practitioners, and researchers with interests in applying the science, practice, and philosophy of behavior analysis to problems encountered by adults in later life.

Our goal is to promote the development, implementation, and evaluation of behavior analytic solutions to a wide variety of topics of high public health significance in the older adult population. Among these are self-management for health promotion and disease prevention, functional assessments of and interventions for behavioral changes commonly associated with neurocognitive disorders (e.g., Alzheimer’s disease), aging with a disability, and effective healthcare navigation, including participation in inter- or multidisciplinary teams.

Because knowledge of the behavioral, medical, cultural, and social contexts of aging is necessary when working clinically with older adults, the BGSIG is fostering a strong collaborative mentorship model. In the spirit of stimulating scholarship in behavior analysis and aging, the BGSIG honors a student presenter during its business meetings at ABAI’s annual convention. Members are alerted to convention presentations in the area of aging through the BGSIG’s spring edition of its biannual newsletter. 

What is Behavioral Gerontology?

Behavioral gerontology is the application of the science, practice, and philosophy of behavior analysis to aging and age-related issues. Behavior analysts practicing within the field of behavioral gerontology have three main responsibilities:

Designing social & Physical environments that maintain access to activities and promote quality of life in advanced age
Building novel repertoires
(e.g., replacement or compensatory strategies)
assessment and treatment of behavioral health concerns

Older adults are living longer
and healthier lives

Our society will face increasing challenges in providing adequate and affordable support to the growing number of older adults who need them. Most existing care agencies for older adults are unaware of the potential benefits of incorporating behavior analysis into their practice. We advocate for effective and affordable behavioral health solutions for older adults. We invite individuals and agencies to contact us and to learn about behavior analysis and its applications.