I graduated from the 'Instituut voor Psychosociale opleiding' - subsector psychiatric social work followed by a Masters Degree in Gerontology at the 'Vrije Universiteit' Brussels in 1999. 

In the nineties I was employed as a staffmember at CGSO Kortrijk, additionally as a coordinator in the adult daycare center 'De Nieuwe Lente' in Heule, concluded by being the general director of the Residential Aged Care Facility 'Huize Ter Meersch' in Avelgem. 

From 2000 until 2005 I was a scientific member at the 'Vrije Universiteit' Brussels. As of 2001 I'm also associated with the 'Hogeschool Odisee' Brussels as lecturer. In parallel, I worked as the head coordinator of the senior councelor training department for 'Hoger Instituut voor Gezinswetenschappen' followed by the 'HLFSW' (2005-2015). 

To conclude I'm part of the Belgian Society of Gerontology (BVGG), ACAP (Active Aging Consortium Asia Pacific), PION (Pass It On Network) and act as a member of the editorial board of Geron magazine. 


My name is Els Messelis - Gerontologist

I am associated with the Odisee Advanced Education in Brussels. I am also acting as an independent gerontologist. 

My expertise is in the domain of:
'sexuality and intimacy' and 'skin hunger' for the elderly. 

Simultaniously, I have been working on the topic of 'Preparing for and your life during your retirement'.
Through workshops and individual coaching - based on my own developed method - I'm advising my clients during this journey. 
My method puts writing, creative exercises and nature at the forefront. 

During my professional career I've publised 11 books and various scientific publications that you can discover below. 

Please feel free to get in touch for a conversation.

What do I offer? 


1 on 1 session & guidance: 'Retired, what's next?'

Are you close to or have you reached the age of 60?

Are you willing to take a moment and reflect back onto your life and discover how to spend the next few years? 

Do you want to take a deep dive into your personal story and are looking for creative guidance to do so?

You are not alone! 

Healthcare & Elderly care professionals:

workshops & training

  • Educational workshops for residential care professionals on the topic of 'intimacy and sexuality for older adults'.

  • Train the trainer 'Reference persons intimacy and sexuality in Elderly Care' (Jan Van Velthoven & Els Messelis in collaboration with Aditi VZW & Paradox)( Currently 7th Edition)

  • Educational workshops on how to prepare for retirement

  • The developement of a positive sexuality policy in residential care residences based on the SexAT.

Socio-cultural organizations 

  • The art of positive aging

  • Intimacy and 'skin hunger'

  • Becoming older: no roses without thorns 

  • 60 with a plus

  • Storytelling



  • Aanraking in tijden van huidhonger, Garant, 2021

  • Buiten de grenzen, warme zorg als middel tegen grensoverschreidend gedrag in coordination with Jan Van Velthoven. (uitg. Politeia, fall 2020). Download the press article here (Dutch)

  • Intimiteit en seksualiteit in woonzorgcentra, uitg. Gompel & Svacina, 2019, ISBN 978 94 6371 166 1
    Download the summary summary here, the press article here and the cover here.

  • 60 met een +. Zinvol, creatief en succesvol ouder worden, uitg. Neno, 2019, ISBN 9789082491562

  • Wanneer woorden tekort schieten. Creatief op zoek naar het doorleefde levensverhaal, uitg. Garant, 2018, ISBN 9789085750673

  • Genderidentiteit en seksuele diversiteit in de ouderenzorg, uitg. Garant, 2018, ISBN 9789044136036

  • Seksueel grensoverschrijdend gedrag in de zorg (met Ellen Van Houdenhove en Jan Van Velthoven), uitg. Politeia, 2015, ISBN 9782509024299

  • Geweld tegen oudere vrouwen in de thuissituatie, uitg. Garant, 2012, ISBN 9789044129892

  • Leren niet verleren. Voor wie ouderen wil ondersteunen bij leren (with Arlette Van Assel), uitg. Garant, 2012, ISBN 9789044129595

  • De weg naar een geslaagd pensioen. Organiseer je leven na je werk. uitg. Standaard, 2011, ISBN 9789002235832

  • Mannen willen seks, vrouwen willen intimiteit. Wat 50-plussers er in werkelijkheid zelf over denken, uitg. Standaard, 2009, ISBN 9789002231797

  • Actief of passief besturen? Hoe anticiperen als lokaal bestuur op het welzijn van ouderen? (with Joris Peeraer), VVSG- uitg. Politeia, 2009, ISBN 978-2-509-00462-8

  • Groepswerk met ouderen… Een vak apart?! (with Arlette van Assel), uitg. Garant, 2006, ISBN 9789044120363


Comparison of Two Surveys Using the Sexuality Assessment Tool (SexAT) in Flanders - 2021 - Els Messelis, Michael Bauer, Elisabeth Vander Stichele, Els Elaut. Klik hier


  • Aanraking in tijden van huidhonger, Psychosociaal Digitaal - November 2021. Access it here.


Get in touch for a first conversation without any further obligations

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