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What elderly people want

Two professorships at Chemnitz University together with the TUCed – Institut für Transfer und Weiterbildung GmbH and further project partners are doing research on independent

Most senior citizens find it important to remain in their own apartments and to live independent lives as long as possible. For this purpose, several different supports in everyday life are essential. Although service providers such as physiotherapists, hairdressers, or employees of housing cooperatives play an important part maintaining an independent life, in the public perception they are not noticed as important players in the field of care services and assistance for elderly people. By assuming these roles, service providers face the challenge to respect personal boundaries and to bear their own wellbeing in mind.

At this point, the joint project “ChemnitzPLUS – Zukunftsregion lebenswert gestalten” comes in. “We want to support the service providers in their daily work, especially in the balancing act between showing compassion and keeping distance. What special needs of elderly people have to be taken into consideration? How can service providers take care of themselves without only working-to-rule?” This is how Thomas Löffler, Professorship of Ergonomics and Innovation Management at Chemnitz University, describes the sub-project of the joint project. In a workshop on “Maintain Mental Health”, service providers were enabled to exchange their experiences dealing with stress, demands, and coping strategies. Thomas Barany, master graduate of Clinical Gerontopsychology, designed and tested the workshop that is currently transferred into the training offering of ChemnitzPLUS.

Barany himself belongs to a group of professionals, who are yet not very often the focus of public attention: Psychologists committed to consult and to treat elderly people. He finished his matching study course of Clinical Gerontopsychology in part-time study at TUCed an affiliated institute for transfer and academic qualification at Chemnitz University. “In their assistance to older people clinical gerontopsychologists pay attention to age-related physical, psychological, and social changes and their respective risks, resources and potential for development”, explains Prof. Stephan Mühlig, Director of the study program and Chair of the Professorship for Clinical Psychology at Chemnitz University. The interdisciplinary cooperation of different professorships and project partners creates innovate research fields with high practical relevance. Thus, gerontopsychologists exploit new job-related fields of application and support the transfer of research results directly into practice. Last but not least, the Chemnitz senior citizens profit from the project in the preservation of an independent life.

A large number of services will be created in the ChemnitzPLUS project aimed at elderly people and the service providers working for them. An overview is available from:

Further information are available from Prof. Stephan Mühlig, phone +49 371 531 36321, email and Thomas Löffler, phone +49 371 531 36024, email

(Translation: Alissa Hölzel)

Matthias Fejes

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