By JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVICH

Taking an elderly patient to the shower or very small room; putting him in one of two queues going right or left; exposing him to a siren, potent odor or strong light; waking him up early to take his temperature; or squeaky footsteps on a hard floor shouldn’t upset him.

Elderly surviviors are always lonely because of wartime loss, even when surrounded by family and friends.

But if the patient is a Holocaust survivor, the shower may remind him of the gas chamber; the queues recall the Nazi “selection”; the siren a Nazi search in the ghetto for Jews; and the early wakeup may trigger nightmares about being counted in a concentration camp.

The average Holocaust survivor, having lost his family more than six decades ago, is lonely even when surrounded by children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. And their feeling of loss is only intensified when they lose their health in old age. The need to treat survivors with special consideration and awareness of their unique needs was stressed at the recent Jerusalem launching of a new Hebrew-language guide aimed at making doctors, psychologists and other professionals more attuned to their needs.

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