web analytics
October 22, 2014 / 28 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Caring For Our Seniors And Holocaust Survivors (Part 4)

A Practical Application

 


In the Jan. 4 and 11 issues I reprinted some triggers that may spark awful flashbacks for Holocaust Survivors. When confronted with these triggers, their reaction might cause them to behave in a way that non-Jewish or unknowledgeable caregivers and even relatives might not understand. That is why it is so important for anyone seeking to work with, or be supportive of, this population to understand what these triggers might be. In this way they can either avoid them or help the person cope if they can’t be avoided. I have received several letters that addressed this very topic.

 

 


Dear Ms. Novick,

 

I read your column every week even though I’m neither chronically ill nor a well spouse. (And I hope I never qualify as either one!)

 

I read with interest, your column re: Holocaust Survivor reactions. I live in New York City and am a professional musician. While my knowledge is probably much less than qualified therapists, doctors, social workers etc., I thought the following might interest you.

 

If I am working a job before an audience of the Jewish elderly (I play a lot of single engagements and parties, club dates etc.) and I even hear a hint of a European accent, or G-d forbid, see numbers on someone’s arm, I never play Viennese waltzes. I also try to stay away from German/Austrian composers, even those who died long before the Holocaust.


Also, just a thought… if I was a social director, I would think twice about taking a group of senior citizens to see a Wagnerian opera or even a show like Cabaret, or the Sound of Music, because of where and when the last two take place.


Rosanne Soifer

 


Dear Ann,

 

I had just finished reading your article on “triggers” when I received a call from a very upset friend who works in an office in her home. She had just seen two weekly clients, a mother and daughter. She told me that her cleaning lady had left her basement door open accidentally and her two dogs ran into her office, barking.

 

“I understand people are afraid of dogs. That’s why I keep mine downstairs.” She told me. “But I’ve never seen a reaction like this. The daughter was cowering on the couch, screaming. The mother was beyond fright and began kicking my dogs.”

 

She said that what disturbed her most, was that the women didn’t stop kicking her dogs and screaming (causing the dogs to bark louder and snarl) even when she told them to stop, and took hold of her dogs and told them that the dogs wouldn’t harm them. The daughter just kept screaming after she took the dogs away.

 

My friend just didn’t understand this overreaction.

 

Having just read about dogs being one of the “triggers” I thought the mother might have very well been a survivor. She probably saw people attacked, mutilated and killed by dogs that were trained to do just that. Any one experiencing that first-hand, or hearing about it from a parent, would easily react in the way she described.

 

When I told her this, her anger and confusion at her clients vanished. In fact she felt badly about the incident and vowed to be more careful with her dogs. Before these clients come again, she told me she would double-check that the dogs could not get out of the basement.


A.

 

 


Dear Ms. Novick,

 

Thank you for the articles and list of triggers. I am a nurse dealing with the older population. I have experienced an interesting contradiction that I’d like to share with your readers. If I wear my white coat when I am working with Holocaust survivors, I have noticed they get agitated. If I don’t wear my white coat with other seniors, they don’t think I’m a nurse. My solution is to keep the white coat on a hook in my office and use my judgment about when to wear it and when not to. I know this may sound like a silly nothing, but I have noticed it made a big difference with the senior population I treat.


N.

 

Whether we are professionals, family members, neighbors or a young adult doing chesed; whether we are Jewish or not, it is important to be aware of the history that has had – and continues to have – such an enormous impact on the older population in our midst. It is our responsibility to understand how what we may consider every day occurrences, can cause terrible anxiety in another. It is incumbent on us to not only be aware of these triggers, but to plan practical ways of avoiding them or working around them. We are, after all, “our brother’s keeper.”

 

You can reach me at annnovick@hotmail.com.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Caring For Our Seniors And Holocaust Survivors (Part 4)”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Israel's Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations David Roet, at a UNSC meeting held July 22, 2014 regarding the Palestinian Arab-Israeli conflict.
Israel Attempts to Insert Reason into UN Debate About Middle East
Latest Sections Stories

Sadly, there are mothers who, due to severe depression are unable or unwilling to prepare nourishing food for their children.

Michal had never been away from home. And now, she was going so far away, for so long – an entire year!

Though if you do have a schach mat, you’ll realize that it cannot actually support the weight of the water.

Social disabilities occur at many levels, but experts identify three different areas of learning and behavior that are most common for children who struggle to create lasting social connections.

Sukkot is an eternal time of joy, and if we are worthy, of plenty.

Two of our brothers, Jonathan Pollard and Alan Gross, sit in the pit of captivity. We have a mandate to see that they are freed.

Chabad of South Broward has 15 Chabad Houses in ten cities.

Victor Center works in partnership with healthcare professionals, clergy, and the community to sponsor education programs and college campus out reach.

So just in case you’re stuck in the house this Chol HaMoed – because there’s a new baby or because someone has a cold – not because of anything worse, here are six ideas for family fun at home.

We are told that someone who says that God’s mercy extends to a bird’s nest should be silenced.

Our harps have 22 strings. This gives musicians a wide musical range and yet stays within Biblical parameters.

More Articles from Ann Novick

When one is blind one learns to use Braille to read. When one cannot walk, a wheelchair gives mobility. Sign language allows a mute person to speak and ocular implants assist in hearing when one is deaf. These are all compensatory strategies that help a person function despite his disability. But compensatory strategies are not just for physical problems. Understanding our psychological weaknesses and setting up our lives to ensure that we are not tempted to repeat our past mistakes, is as necessary as any aid to the disabled.

Well spouses have often discovered that their friends and relatives, despite their closeness to the situation, often don’t realize the tremendous emotional impact living with chronic illness has on the family. With the best intentions, suggestions, ideas and criticism are offered, based on the non-experience of those with healthy families. Even when the good intentioned get a taste of the difficulties, it is sometimes not enough for them to then identify and understand what the family of the chronically ill must face on a constant basis.

Over the past two weeks I have shared letters from a therapist and a well spouse. Both of the letters gave personal insights into the process of losing hope, how we react when that happens and some ways of coping when test scores, diagnosis and just simple repetitive behavior indicate that change for the better is impossible.

Dear Ann,

I’ve read your last few articles on psycho-neurological testing (Oct.8-22) with interest. As a therapist who has counseled couples dealing with chronic illness, I’d like to give you another perspective.

Dear Ann,

Your articles on the Neuro-Psychological Testing were right on (October 8-22). My husband underwent testing twice and your articles explained it things exactly the way they were. Besides the test, we also tried therapy.

Very often when we can’t face our big hurts or big loses we focus on the little ones. We can discuss those. We can cry over the small loses, be angry at the smaller hurts even though it may look trite and sound ridiculous to others.

Over the last two weeks we have been discussing one way in which well spouses can determine whether behavior displayed by their ill partners is caused by their illness or is a way they have chosen to act. We have focused on Psycho-Neurological testing, what it can tell us, as well as its pros and cons.

Last week I discussed a question that haunts many well spouses: not knowing if the difficult and often inappropriate behavior frequently displayed by their partners are caused by the disease and therefore not-controllable, or if the behavior is a choice the spouse makes and can therefore be changed. This doubt can be the source of much frustration and many marital disagreements. One way of alleviating this doubt is by having a psycho- neurological work up done. But that path is not so simple.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/caring-for-our-seniors-and-holocaust-survivors-part-4/2008/02/06/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: