American Society on Aging highlights Federations' trauma-informed approach

Jewish Federations of North America are proud that the American Society on Aging (ASA) has highlighted the importance of person-centered, trauma-informed (PCTI) care in its premier resource for thousands of professionals in the field of aging. 


In the four months since the terrorist attacks on Oct. 7, 2023, in Israel, the person-centered, trauma-informed (PCTI) approach has proven essential in supporting older adults retraumatized by the war. These horrific attacks have led many older adults with a history of trauma, including Holocaust survivors,  to relive painful memories from the past and experience retraumatization.  


“My heart is broken witnessing the beastly acts perpetrated by Hamas in Israel. As a survivor, it has evoked fear and disbelief,” said Ada Gracin, a Holocaust survivor in New York. 


In response, the Federations’ Center on Holocaust Survivor Care and Institute on Aging and Trauma, which has been the leading proponent of the PCTI approach, published “Aging with a History of Trauma: Strategies to Provide Person-Centered, Trauma-Informed (PCTI) Care to Older Adults and Family Caregivers” in the ASA publication Generations


The PCTI approach promotes the dignity, strength and empowerment of individuals with a history of trauma by incorporating knowledge about the role of trauma into agency programs, policies and procedures. While the PCTI approach can ensure older adults receive the best care possible, many direct service providers do not have the capacity to do so. 


This publication is an essential guide for anyone working or volunteering with older adults and family caregivers. It covers the role of trauma in aging, the PCTI approach, and recommendations on supporting diverse older adults and family caregivers. These PCTI recommendations can be implemented in any organization, at any level.  


“PCTI care ensures that people with a history of trauma receive safe, inclusive, and empowering services to support their health and well-being. Each recommendation in the guide gets us closer to that goal,” said Shelley Rood Wernick, managing director of the Center.  


In the past, trauma was seldom talked about in aging services. Since 2015, however, the Center has promoted the recognition of trauma and defined and spearheaded the PCTI approach for the Aging Network. The Center continues to grow this field through grantmaking, training, and research and is called upon to provide expertise across aging services.  


You can read the full ASA article here.  


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