Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) joined Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) to cosponsor the Trauma Informed Modernization of Eldercare (TIME) for Holocaust Survivors Act. The bill would provide social service agencies with the resources to meet the urgent needs of Holocaust survivors to age in place with dignity, comfort and security.
“Most of the hundreds of survivors of the Holocaust in Nevada—and the thousands across the United States—are now in their ninth or tenth decade. These brave and resilient Americans deserve support that is sensitive to the trauma they have endured. This bill will ensure that care programs like home-delivered meals, personal care, transportation and mental health benefits are more readily available to them.”
In addition to Senators Cortez Masto and Cardin, Senators Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Thomas Carper (D-Del.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) also cosponsored the TIME for Holocaust Survivors Act.
Today approximately 80,000 Holocaust survivors, with an average age of over 85, live in the United States. Shockingly, one-third have incomes below the official U.S. poverty threshold. Holocaust survivors live with the physical, mental and social scars from the traumas they faced.
Although aging Holocaust survivors have needs similar to those facing other older Americans, the consequences of institutionalization can be more severe for this population. For many, their experiences during the Holocaust mean that institutionalized settings can cause panic, anxiety, and re-traumatization.
This bill would build upon existing programs to acknowledge the plight and uphold the dignity of Holocaust survivors by:
- Including “older individuals who are Holocaust survivors” as one of the designated groups that have the greatest social needs within the Older Americans Act;
- Designating a portfolio within the Administration on Community Living to have responsibility for Holocaust survivor issues;
- Promoting technical assistance and training for nonprofits that serve older adults experiencing the long-term and adverse consequences of trauma; and
- Clarifying that the providers of nutrition services through the Older Americans Act may tailor meals to meet the special dietary needs of seniors based on medical conditions and religious tradition, when possible.
The legislation also establishes a national resource center to share best practices, transfer knowledge and promote person-centered trauma-informed care for all older adults experiencing the long-term and adverse consequences of trauma.