The EU commissions all sorts of projects to various subcontractors. Lately, I was asked to run a three-week relationship skills facilitation program for senior care assistants. This is in fact a new profession that was created in response to the needs of the aging population. Senior care assistants are crucial to preventing social exclusion through their responsibilities, such as:

  • assessment of seniors’ support needs
  • arranging relevant interventions accordingly
  • supporting seniors through individualised care plans
  • promoting inclusion through workshops and social gatherings at Senior’s Club
  • ongoing monitoring and responding to seniors’ needs as they arise

This is a tough job. As a senior care assistant you have to recruit the project participants according to very specific requirements such as the measures of health, independence and social exclusion.

You will also face the challenges of old age or particularly tricky individuals.  We can all remember an elderly relative, such as an auntie or uncle that drove us mad. They did it for a reason, which was unpicked in the course of training program.

Apart from that, I heard stories of brave seniors who shared their wisdom and demonstrated relentless self-determination and resilience.

Whatever the case, it takes relationship skills and deeper awareness to successfully support seniors in their charming and quirky idiosyncrasies.

The skills training programme was based on experiential learning with elements of Transactional Analysis and covered the following:


  • contact and recognition in the helping profession
  • contracting and boundaries
  • Life Positions
  • grief and attitudes to death
  • Functional Ego States and transactions
  • human hungers
  • psychological games
  • resilience building using resources of the past, present and future

I felt humbled by the courage of the trainees – they did not bat an eyelid during some more challenging exercises. They taught me warmth, humor and bravery! Let’s wait and see what they say about the long-term results of my work…