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Holocaust survivors’ perspectives on using community aged care and support services

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 September 2019

Karen Teshuva*
Lincoln Centre for Research on Ageing, Australian Institute for Primary Care & Ageing, College of Science, Engineering, and Health, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia
Allan Borowski
College of Science, Engineering, and Health, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia
Yvonne Wells
Lincoln Centre for Research on Ageing, Australian Institute for Primary Care & Ageing, College of Science, Engineering, and Health, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia
*Corresponding author. Email:


The extant literature on Jewish Holocaust survivors’ experiences of receiving aged care services typically focuses on the risk that formal care settings may reactivate traumatic memories. Absent from previous research have been the viewpoints of older survivors themselves regarding their aged care experiences. An interpretive phenomenological approach was used to investigate Jewish Holocaust survivors’ lived experience of using community aged care services. Thirteen in-depth interviews were conducted and analysed using thematic analysis. The credibility of the findings was ensured by methodological triangulation and peer debriefing. Four major themes emerged from the analysis: wanting carers to do their job well; being supported to maintain autonomy; having a good relationship with the carer; and being understood as an individual. Although Holocaust survivors described the lived experience of using community aged care services in terms of universal themes similar to those identified with other groups of care recipients, the data revealed that this experience is intertwined with individual earlier-life traumatic experiences. This study has implications for training age care staff who work with Holocaust survivors and older trauma survivors from other refugee backgrounds.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2019

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