With each new diagnosis, Luba becomes increasingly anxious. In the past, she relied on her physical strength to overcome hardships. But now that she is physically ill, she feels extremely vulnerable and unsafe.
Luba was a young child when the Nazis invaded her home city of Kiev, Ukraine. Refusing to obey orders, her family fled, escaping one of the worst massacres of the war. Luba survived five years of near-death experiences and little access to food, but her survival bore a cost.
Today, Luba carries the scars of past trauma. Her many ailments, including congestive heart failure, arthritis and breast cancer, require regular medical care. Each hospital visit is disorienting, and the routines, uniforms, and lack of control re-traumatize her. She feels helpless and weak.
The Jewish Federation’s network of healthcare and social service providers has seen this many times before. Working with survivors over the past few decades, they have learned to provide care that is person-centered and trauma-informed (PCTI). PCTI care emphasizes a person’s individual strengths, preferences, and needs. In fact, this type of care has demonstrated such success that social service agencies are beginning to use the techniques to help other older victims of trauma, such as veterans and refugees.
Many Holocaust survivors wish to remain in their homes and communities as they age. The Jewish Federation offers special PCTI training to home healthcare workers to reduce the risk of re-traumatization. Thanks to Federation, Luba returned home after her latest surgery and was able to receive assistance from a specially trained caregiver. She has such a warm connection with her aide that she considers her family. “I feel respected, safe, and cared for,” Luba says.
Luba is physically fragile, but with the support of Federation, she can live at home with dignity. That is her main wish, and after all that she has suffered, it’s one that Federation has been able to grant.
Learn more about Federation's work with Holocaust survivors through the Center for Advancing Holocaust Survivor Care and read more stories from the people helped.