Providing care for Holocaust survivors focus of Senate hearing

WASHINGTON, D.C.--  The U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging will hold a hearing on Wednesday to examine the health and social service needs of aging Holocaust survivors.

The panel will hear from Jack Rubin of Boynton Beach, Florida, a survivor of Auschwitz and three other concentration camps, about the plight many Holocaust survivors face today.  Lawmakers will also take testimony from survivor advocates and caregivers, who will discuss what services are available and what gaps and barriers exist today to serve the needs of this unique population.

           

Today, one-fourth of the estimated 109,000 to 140,000 Holocaust survivors in the U.S. live at or below the poverty line with many still facing significant health and mental illness problems as a result of Nazi atrocities.  As survivors grow older and their daily living activities become more challenging, the need and cost of providing care is expected to increase exponentially.  Recent studies have shown higher incidences of cancer, osteoporosis and post-traumatic stress disorder among survivors and found that receiving care in an institutional setting can be particularly problematic for many.  Uniformed staff, bed railings, daily routines and schedules, janitors walking with jangling keys, and even darkness—things that other residents would likely ignore—can take aging Holocaust survivors psychologically and emotionally back to their traumatic earlier days and cause intense distress.  As a result, many organizations who care for elderly survivors focus on keeping them in their homes or in a familiar environments for as long as possible.  

 

SENATE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON AGING

HEARING: Aging in Comfort: Assessing the Special Needs of America’s Holocaust Survivors

2:15 p.m. Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 562

 

WITNESS LIST

PANEL I

Jack Rubin, Holocaust survivor from Boynton Beach, Florida, accompanied by David Rubin

Anat Bar-Cohen, Daughter of Holocaust survivor

PANEL 2

Sandor E. Samuels, President and CEO, Bet Tzedek

Elihu Kover, Vice President, Nazi Victim Services, Selfhelp Community Services

Lee I. Sherman, President and CEO, Association of Jewish Family and Children’s Agencies