January 26, 2018
Blog: Active Remembrance: Serving Those Who Survived the Holocaust
In observance of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, ACL is pleased to have one of our grantees, the Jewish Federation of North America, as our guest blogger on this occasion.
January 27, 2018 is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. While we remember those who were lost, social service agencies continue to work every day to provide care for the 100,000 or more Holocaust survivors still alive in the United States. Most survivors are in their 80s and 90s and approximately 25 percent of survivors live in poverty. As they age, their needs continue to increase, such as transportation, meal service, psychotherapy, socialization events, and many others.
Thousands of these survivors are helped by an ACL grant administered by The Jewish Federations of North America’s (JFNA) Center for Advancing Holocaust Survivor Care to provide innovative person-centered, trauma-informed (PCTI) care. PCTI care is a holistic approach to service provision that promotes the dignity, strength, and empowerment of trauma victims by incorporating knowledge about the role of trauma in victims’ lives into agency programs, policies, and procedures. While JFNA works to fund innovative PCTI programs, it also has a broader goal of distilling the promising practices reaped by its cohort of subgrantees. Under the assumption that a majority of older adults have experienced some form of trauma during their lives, the ultimate goal of this work is to effect change nationwide with all service providers that serve older adults who have experienced trauma. By developing adaptable and tested models for service provision, JFNA hopes all older adults will receive a higher standard of care.
Grants are provided for a variety of services. In California, a local service provider began working with Mr. T, an 85 year old survivor from the Former Soviet Union. Living in low-income housing with his wife, Mr. T began noticing that his short term memory was declining. He began feeling depressed and isolated, so he decided to try a new psycho-educational class funded by JFNA. Mr. T is now a regular participant. Beyond meeting new people and getting out of the house, Mr. T has learned coping skills and tools for improving his short-term memory. He reports feeling more confident and happy. On his recent 85th birthday, his new friends helped him celebrate and the agency staff wrote an article for their two largest local newspapers. Mr. T has improved so much that he has started volunteering for other JFNA-funded events to help his fellow survivors.
By developing these PCTI services around survivors’ needs, we are able to provide services that reach survivors in a more impactful way while learning promising practices to pass on to other traumatized populations. Utilizing this PCTI model allows survivors to age with dignity, while developing a legacy that will improve the lives of other traumatized populations as they age.
To learn more about JFNA activities, go to www.HolocaustSurvivorCare.org, #WeRemember.