“It is not your work to finish the task, but you can’t desist from doing your part!”
-Rabbi Tarfon, Pirkei Avot 2:21
When the Older Americans Act was reauthorized in 2016, it required the US Administration on Community Living to respond to the urgent needs of the approximately 105,000 Holocaust survivors living in the US. This lead to Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) receiving a grant to live out this important mission of responding to the needs of our Holocaust survivor community.
JFSKC is one of 34 agencies across the country to receive this funding, which is aimed at increasing the capacity of communities, agencies and service providers to deliver person-centered trauma-informed care to Holocaust survivors. A condition of the grant was obtaining a local funding match. This was made possible through local partnership with The Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City and the generous support of Sam Devinki and Mary Stahl.
It isn’t enough for our JFSKC team to be person-centered and trauma informed; as an agency that proudly serves Holocaust survivors and helps them navigate medical systems, benefit processes and the aging journey in general, we thought it important to educate providers so that when survivors receive care, their care team has context.
So, JFSKC set out to educate aging and healthcare services providers – direct care staff and social workers in home health agencies, hospitals, nursing homes and homecare. We discuss trauma-potential situations for our Holocaust survivors as they age as well as special considerations when it comes to caring for Holocaust survivors.
Between July 2016 and September 2018, we have educated 518 aging and healthcare professionals, and the data is astounding. Between 94 and 98% of those educated report they understand the unique effects of trauma on Holocaust survivors, can identify trauma symptoms and trauma-potential situations impacting survivors; most importantly, attendees report they feel competent creating a trauma-informed environment for Holocaust survivors.
JFSKC is proud of the small part we’re able to play in ensuring quality of life for our Holocaust survivor community as they age. Do you have a team that would like to take part in this learning? If you do, we’d love to hear from you. Please contact Laura Gilman, Care Management Team Manager at: firstname.lastname@example.org