A major National Strategy released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services detailing hundreds of actions the federal government will take in the coming years to support family caregivers has incorporated recommendations provided by Jewish Federations of North America’s Center on Holocaust Survivor Care and Institute on Aging and Trauma that highlight the impact of trauma on the caregiving experience. The strategy also cites and describes Jewish Federations’ brief Supporting Family Caregivers of Older Adults with a History of Trauma and recommends essential practices recommended by Jewish Federations to mitigate the impacts of trauma, including those that have been practiced with family caregivers of Holocaust survivors.
Of the estimated 53 million family caregivers in the United States, approximately 42 million care for a family member or friend over the age of 50. With up to 90% of older adults having a history of trauma, these family caregivers can face challenges managing trauma-related behaviors in their loved ones, such as hypervigilance and distrust of medical providers, all while carrying out their caregiving tasks and coping with trauma-related emotions they may feel themselves as they manage the multiple demands of the caregiving role.
“Trauma is a powerful and often invisible influence in the lives of family caregivers,” said Shelley Rood Wernick, Managing Director of Jewish Federations of North America’s Center on Holocaust Survivor Care and Institute on Aging and Trauma. “We are grateful to the federal government for releasing this comprehensive strategy and for outlining tangible actions to support family caregivers. We look forward to disseminating this strategy to our partners and communities across the continent.”
Jewish Federations offered 24 recommendations on how person-centered, trauma-informed care can be infused into outreach and service delivery for family caregivers to help them manage these challenges.
The National Strategy includes government and community actions that address issues that caregivers say are most important, including:
- Access to Respite Services
- Support with Day-to-Day and Complex Medical Tasks
- Inclusion of Caregivers in Care Teams
- Financial Education on Caregiving Costs
- Better Identification of Family Caregivers
- Research on the Needs of Family Caregivers
Jewish Federations of North America’s Center on Holocaust Survivor Care and Institute on Aging and Trauma promotes the national expansion of innovative, person-centered, trauma-informed services for Holocaust survivors, older adults with a history of trauma, and their family caregivers by awarding grants and implementing capacity building initiatives. Since its establishment, the Center has served approximately 35,000 Holocaust survivors, 5,000 older adults with a history of trauma, 6,000 family caregivers and provided 16,000 professionals with training.
Jewish Federations of North America’s Center on Holocaust Survivor Care and Institute on Aging and Trauma is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $4,935,000 with 75 percent funded by ACL/HHS and $1,645,000 and 25 percent funded by non-government source(s). The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.