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Experiences of ageing and aged care in Australia of older survivors of genocide

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 November 2012

Australian Institute for Primary Care & Ageing, Faculty of Health Sciences, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia.
Australian Institute for Primary Care & Ageing, Faculty of Health Sciences, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia.
Address for correspondence: Karen Teshuva, Australian Institute for Primary Care & Ageing, La Trobe University, Melbourne Campus, Victoria 3086, Australia. E-mail:


This qualitative study investigated the ageing and aged care experiences in Australia of two cohorts of older survivors of genocide: Jewish Holocaust survivors and older Cambodian genocide survivors. It was carried out in response to an identified need to better train aged care workers who are in contact with these groups. In-depth interviews were conducted with 21 community-dwelling survivors aged 65 and over. Credibility was ensured by methodological triangulation and peer debriefing. The study highlighted the importance of understanding older survivors’ ageing and aged care experiences in the context of their entire lifecourse and in terms of both vulnerability and resilience. It showed that trauma history can heighten older survivors’ sensitivity to many aspects of the social and physical environments in residential, community and home-based aged care settings. The study also uncovered the potential for aged care services to help older survivors cope with the psycho-social and emotional effects of resurfacing post-traumatic stress symptoms. The implications of the study findings for care practice include the importance of recognising older survivors of genocide as a distinct group of clients and the need to distinguish staff training for caring for this client group from general cultural awareness training.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2012 

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