Helping a Holocaust survivor live at home

Joseph* is described by those who know him as a very sweet man. An interior designer by profession, long since retired, Joseph enjoys writing poetry, speaks six languages, and is a lover of books and the arts.

Life has not always been so kind. Born in Austria, Joseph is a Holocaust survivor, and during the war, his parents and brother perished. When Project Guardianship met him, he was 94 years old, and had been a widower for more than 25 years. With no friends or family nearby (his one son lives in Los Angeles), he was “stuck” in a nursing home and had but one wish: to return to his apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, to his home of almost 65 years. 

Project Guardianship got to work. Basically non-ambulatory and a wheelchair user, Joseph needed a home health aide to care for him 24/7, and Project Guardianship went to court to demand that his home care be increased from 12 to 24 hours of live-in care. We also advocated for the installation of a ramp to his apartment building with his landlord.

We worked also to restore Joseph’s lapsed Holocaust reparations payments and put in place a sustainable financial plan so he could remain at home for as long as medically possible.

Returning home has had an incredible positive impact on Joseph’s physical health.

Returning home has had an incredible positive impact on Joseph’s physical health. He has a very dedicated home health aide, and we arranged for redelivery of a long-time daily staple — the New York Times. He is engaged again with life and part of the community, the access ramp providing easy access to and from the building for him and his caretaker.

We have been honored to mark holidays with Joseph and to deliver meals for Passover and Rosh Hashanah. On visits, we often bring him matzo ball soup — his all-time favorite. Joseph also likes to plan ahead for his weekly visit with our volunteer — sharing his poetry and recommending books to read. 

Project Guardianship is determined that Joseph will be able to live in his beloved home for his remaining years. We are very pleased to grant him his most fervent wish — to be able to choose his fate, a choice he has often remarked that his “parents and brother did not have."

* “Joseph” is a pseudonym for a Project Guardianship client and the photo attached is a stock photo (and not an actual photo of “Joseph”). Project Guardianship maintains the privacy and protects the identity of, and all information related to, its clients.