I work with a unique population–Russian immigrants 65-years-old and up. Our practice is in the heart of a Russian community, famous Brighton Beach.
Coming here to the U.S., my patients brought with them a myriad of issues – some are unique only to this population group and some are universal for all elderly–the loss of social status, familiar surroundings, life-long friends, rich Russian culture, profession or career, and part of the family (left behind).
And much more…They miss the traditional cultural closeness of the family. They come here so they won’t be separated from their children, and their children often move to different parts of the country, leaving them in Russian neighborhoods to take care of themselves.
They also have unique pain and memories: fighting in WWII, running from Germans, famine and labor camps of Stalin’s era, and concentration camps or ghetto.
They are now getting older, with more medical problems that also affect their emotional well-being.
Mr. T, our patient for many years, is a WWII veteran. He fought during the war from Moscow to Berlin and was wounded a few times. He fought in the battle of Stalingrad.
Every night he would still fight during his sleep: screaming, yelling and making strange sounds. TFT has relieved this trauma. He still has flashbacks and talks about his war experience, but his wife reports that he is not screaming in his sleep anymore.
PTSD symptoms are normally very hard to treat, especially with the elderly. I am very grateful that I now have this knowledge and skill with TFT.
The main difficulty in my work with the elderly with different levels of dementia is their comprehension level. I find it hard to explain to them the concept of SUD and often have to judge our progress by the facial expression and patient’s subjective reaction.
The other problem is how to make the handout and explanation easy to understand for use at home. It often takes three or four sessions to do so.
I am very glad I learned TFT–and have it as the main tool in my tool box. It helps my patients enormously.