In November 2017, I gave a presentation at JF&CS in Atlanta, GA. The presentation, entitled “Trauma Informed Care of Holocaust Survivors and Other Elderly Trauma Survivors”, was focused on understanding the impact of extreme traumatic experiences in prior times on elderly individuals, and on implementing principles of Person Centered Trauma Informed Care (PCTIC) in the care of elderly survivors of the Holocaust and other traumatic events.
As a daughter of Holocaust survivors, I have a deep and personal connection to this topic. I have encountered many well-intentioned healthcare professionals who do not have any understanding of the particular meanings that various aspects of aging and ailing might have for trauma survivors. For those who had suffered terrible losses of loved ones, and had been subjected to inhumane, sadistic cruelty by other people, the inevitable loss of autonomy, the helplessness and the new losses of loved ones that aging involves can be re-traumatizing. The need to be institutionalized, the accompanied loss of one’s home and possessions, are all terrible reminders of past losses and changes, and are difficult when the past is full of forced re-locations and brutal abuse of power by authority. It is my personal mission to try increase the understanding and compassion among healthcare providers to the vulnerabilities of elderly trauma survivors and improve their care at the later years of life, when they need our help more than ever.