New European trends in senior development

The term successful and happy aging has been circulating in the public consciousness for decades, although it is still not widespread enough. Sociological age and the associated social expectations that expect a certain pattern of behavior and thinking from their older peers still put very strong pressure on older people, especially in rural areas.

Everyone must find the behavior forms, that lead to successful aging, individually. It basically means finding a balance between capabilities, goals, and opportunities in the environment, healthy eating and health preservation initiatives, exercise, sports appropriate to abilities and possibilities, and avoiding the use of addictive substances. Injury prevention efforts and the use of preventive health services. However, it is difficult to imagine carrying out these activities on a regular basis without the help of the surrounding communities.

It is proven, that, elderly persons who go to communities more often, be they cultural, sporting or otherwise, are much more able to maintain their mental and physical health, improve their relationship with the environment, acquire better problem-solving and conflict management skills, and are better informed and communicative, as their solitary colleagues.

The initiative launched by the Catholic Education Network for Youth and Adults (KIFE) in Szeged in 2020, is based on these concepts, presented above.

Among European countries, Hungarian and Romanian elderly people do not have enough opportunities to participate in social, educational and cultural programs which are beneficial for them in knowledge acquisition, health and mental status prevention, stabilization, or cultural, artistic development. Although there are a few local initiatives, these are isolated, mostly without long term conceptions.

The projects aim is to learn more about the variety of the senior development in European level, to share the experiences, and to ensure the knowledge-transfer through mutually developed learning and measuring tools with adult educators in national and transnational level, as well.

The main goal is to extend and develop the methodological repertoire and competences of educators participating in different types of senior trainings, namely Musicgeragogy, Biography, Intergenerational education, Painting Academy, Kinesthetics, Mental and Cognitive Development Program.

Another goal of the project, is to develop innovative methodological training curricula for senior trainers in English, German, and Hungarian which contain teaching and training methodologies

As a result of the project, there will be more developed senior trainers, and a variety of developmental opportunities, so the seniors have more opportunities to participate in social and cultural programs, trainings and activities which are beneficial for them in knowledge acquisition, health and mental status prevention, stabilization, or cultural, artistic development. Each partner organization will be able to organize a wider range of senior courses sharing the approach of the holistic development of seniors and the European educational priorities causing a mutual developmental step to a further, long-term transnational level cooperation of the partner organizations. It might cause also change in the attitude of the decision-makers of the civil society concerning the roles and social image of the seniors, that is an important indirect impact of the project.

The project will be implemented by mid of 2022 and is funded by the Erasmus + KA2 program – Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices.

The project partners are: Catholic Education Network for Youth and Adults (Hungary), Association Caritas Alba Iulia Medical and Social Assistance (Romania), Kärnten Catholic Training Organization (Austria), Catholic Association for Adult Education Munich (Germany).