Annual Meeting and Conference on October 29, 2005

CONFERENCE THEME:
A DIALOGUE AMONG ONGOING INDO-AMERICAN SENIOR PROGRAMS
The National Indo-American Association for Senior Citizens (NIAASC) had its sixth Annual Meeting and tenth full day conference on Saturday, October 29, 2005 in Elmont, Long Island, New York. The India Association of Long Island and the Indian American Kerala Center collaborated with NIAASC in this event. The conference was one of its kind attended by about 70 people. NIAASC provided this forum to ongoing Indo-American Senior Programs to deliberate on:
How was the program developed?
What kind of problems/difficulties it faced in the process?
What are the current activities and future plans?

Nine programs made their presentations and revealing information was so useful that NIAASC would work on its dissemination to other parts of the country. In initiating the discussion, Dr. Ashwin Pandya, President of NIAASC, underscored the importance of networking not only among the participating programs but also among other programs in the USA. Mr. Rajeshwar Prasad, NIAASC Executive Director and the Program Coordinator, alluded to the diversity of the attending Senior Programs. The presenters were:

SENIOR PROGRAM PRESENTERS:

Senior Citizen Center of New York: Chandubhai Patel
The group meets every Saturday in the afternoon at the Vaishnav Temple in Holliswood Queens, New York. The Program was started about six years back by Dr. Ashwin Pandya. Initially it was meeting once in a month, but at the request of participants it now meets every Saturday attended by some 60 seniors. The program includes social get together, cultural programs, celebrations of national holidays and trips to religious institutions and places of interest like Niagara Falls

Guru Gobind Singh Senior Center: Ardaman Singh Madan
The program started about two years back has informal gatherings. About 10-15 people attend it. The group meets every Thursday from 11:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M. at an adjoining facility owned by Plainview Gurudwara. The program coordinator and founder, Mr. Ardaman Singh Madan, leaves it to the participants what games or activities they wish to undertake. Some watch TV, some play cards. There is a regular dialogue of the experiences by seniors on their life experiences.
Senior Citizen Program of India Association of Long Island: Sunil Uppal
The program started in mid 2004 at the Senior Citizen Center of the Town of Huntington. It meets every fourth Saturday from 2:00 P.M. to 5:00 P.M. As an outreach activity, the Town provides the facility and other services to India Association of long Island. The program initially attended by 8-10 people is now attended by 20-25 people. Activities include presentations by professionals on issues related to seniors, movies and documentaries, yoga and laughter session. The program has started a series: "Every one has a story" and gives an opportunity to participants to relate their life stories like How did you meet your spouse; how did you come to USA?

Vishwa Hindu Parishad Senior Center of Connecticut: Hasit Parikh
The program runs as and when needed. The founder and president of the program, Mr. Hasit Parikh , focuses on Hindu scriptures and has activities celebrating national holidays and festivals. The program open to all is coordinated by a committee. It has numerous activities and clebrates all Hindu festivals and national holidays.

Senior Program of the Long Island Gujarati Cultural Society: Praful Shah
The group meets last Sunday of the month in Blue Point at the Town of Brookhaven Recreation Center. The town has provided the space at a nominal fees. It meets from 2:00 to 5:00 P.M. It is coordinated by Mr. Praful Shah. There are about 25-30m people attending the program. Program started about three years back undertakes many kinds of activities and coordinates trips with other senior groups to religious institutions and places of pleasure.
The Hindu Temple Society of North America (known as Ganesh Temple) Senior Program: V. Subramanian
The program started about three years ago meets every Wednesday from 10:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M. in a building across the temple. Initially meeting in the temple basement has moved to new building. It is expected to be expanded for more frequent meetings in the near future. The program attended by some 25 participants is coordinated by Mrs. Nirmala Ramasubramanian. It has regular yoga classes and undertakes meditations and talks on many issues such as spirituality, health care. They also organize trips and sightseeing ventures. The program has been provided a van by the New York City Office of Aging which facilitates transportation to seniors.
United Hindu Cultural Council Senior Center: Chan Jamoona
The program meets every day Monday through Friday in South Ozone Park, Queens, from 9;00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M. .It is the only Indo-American Program funded by the Office of Aging, New York City. The program has many activities and serves as a model for other Indo-American senior programs. The executive Director, Chan Jamoona, is constantly requested by other programs to help them in various phases. It has excellent coordination with City departments of Police, Fire and others who visit the center on a regular basis. Initially attended by only seven seniors, the program is now attended by some 120 seniors includes presentations on health issues, provides flu vaccination and other assistance for Medicaid and Medicare services.
Indian American Kerala Cultural and Civic Center Senior Program: Raju Thomas
The program meets twice in a month on Monday evenings. It has been running for about two years and started with five participants has now over 60. The Center which has many activities considers senior program as an integral part of its other activities. This provides seniors an opportunity to participate in national holiday celebrations and festivals. The program coordinated under the direction of the Center's Executive Director, E.M. Stephen, has support of many volunteers
Indo-American Cultural Group of Long Island Senior Program: Satya Malhotra
The program started about 4 months back meets every third Saturday in a well maintained and equipped building in Hicksville. The coordinators, Mr. Vijay Goswamy and Ms. Anu Gulati, have spearheaded many programs, though modestly. The Group founder, Ms. Indu Jaiswal, has been successful to seek support of the Nassau County government to provide the space free.

ONGOING INDO-AMERICAN SENIOR PROGRAMS IN NY/NJ/CT
At the conference the participants were provided a list of all senior programs running in the tristate region with their founder/president and telephone number. The list is reproduced below: (*Denotes programs that made presentations)
Indo-American Senior Citizen Council of Edison, NJ; President - Navin Amin; Tel. 732-548-3725
Indo-American Senior Citizen Association of Hudson County, NJ; President - Kishorebhai Trivedi: Tel: 201-792-6970
* United Hindu Cultural Council Senior Center, South Ozone Park, NY; Founder and Executive Director - Chan Jamoona: Tel. 718-323-8900
* Senior Citizen Center of New York (Vaishnav Temple), Holliswood, NY; Founder - Ashwin Pandya:
Tel. 516-292-9741
Indo-American Senior Citizen Association of Bergen County, NJ; President - Suresh Shah: Tel. 201-244-5960
Indo-American Senior Organization of New Jersey; President - Raman Shah: Tel. 732-986-5214
* India Association of Long Island Senior Program, LI, NY; President - Sampurna Jain; Senior Program Chairman - Sunil Uppal: Tel. 631-499-3059
* Senior Citizen Program of LI Gujarati Cultural Society, LI, NY; President - Mafat Patel; Coordinator Praful Shah: Tel. 631-471-7799
Indo-American Senior Citizen Association of Old Bridge, NJ; President - Mukund Shah: Tel. 732-967-9882
* The Hindu Temple Society of North America Senior Program, Flushing, NY; President - Uma Mysorekar; Coordinator - Nirmala Ramasubramanian: Tel. 718-969-1827
* Indo-American Senior Citizen Association of Passaic, NJ: President - Ambubhai Vyas: Tel. 973-249-9346
* Indian American Kerala Cultural and Civic Center Senior Program, Elmont, NY, Executive Director - E.M.Stephen: Tel. 516-358-2000
Indo-American Senior Citizen Association of Piscatway, NJ; President - Chhaganbhai Patel: Tel. 732-235-0802
* Guru Gobind Singh Senior Center of Plainview, Plainview, NY; Founder - Ardaman Singh Madan:
Tel. 631-368-6544
* Indo-American Cultural Group of LI Senior Program, Hicksville, NY; Founder - Indu Jaiswal, Coordinators: Vijay Goswamy (Tel. 516-731-5250) and Anu Gulati
Indo-American Senior Citizen Association of Woodbridge, NJ; President - Bhagwatibhai Patel: Tel 732-603-8990
Indo-American Senior Citizen Association of Union County, Roselle Park, NJ; President - Ravi Gandhi:
Tel. 908-241-8460
Senior Citizen Association of Bridgewater, NJ; President - Rutika Parikh: Tel. 908-720-5726
Senior Citizen Group, BAPS, Edison, NJ; President - Raichand Patel: Tel. 732-752-2771
* VHP Senior Center of Connecticut CT; President - Hasit Parikh, Tel. 860-628-8978

NIAASC Honored Distinguished Community Leaders:

Ashok Satkalmi (moderator): Presenters: Chandubhai Patel (Senior Citizen Center of NY),
Ardaman Singh Madan (Guru Gobind Singh Senior Center) and Hasit Parikh (VHP Senior Center of Connecticut)

Last year NIAASC honored the Senior Citizen Center of New York, and posthumously honored late Purushottam Karra. In 2003, Dr. Uma Mysorekar, President of the Hindu Temple Society of North America and Ms. Chan Jamoona, Executive Director of the United Hindu Cultural Council Senior Center were honored. This year NIAASC is proud to select the following three outstanding honorees

MALA DESIA, Executive Director, Northern Queens Health Coalition and Founder and Chairperson of PRAGATI Inc. for her distinguished professional service to the minority communities; for her remarkable initiative in empowering South Asian women in generating economic and self-reliance, and addressing issues of Long Term and Senior Care.

Mala Desai accepting award from Satpal Malhotra, NIAASC Treasurer, L to R: Ramasubramanian, Pandya and Prasad applauding

SUNIL UPPAL, for his exceptional leadership in organizing program for seniors; and for his devotion, dedication and commitment to the concerns of seniors in Long Island; and for organizing periodical luncheons for seniors and coordinating a monthly senior program.

 

Sunil Uppal accepting award: L to R Chan Jamoona (Executive Director of United Hindu Cultural Council Senior Center), Sampurna Jain (President, India Association of Long Island), Uppal with his wife and two daughters and Mala Desai
(Back Row), Ashwin Pandya and Rajeshwar Prasad

NIAASC also recognized the Indo-American Senior Citizen Council of Edison for its leadership in running a senior program for over a decade; and for an ongoing effort to help seniors in procuring services from various agencies and institutions. In the absence of the Council representative, due to a last minute unavoidable reason, Chandubhai Patel accepted the award.


SINGLE SENIORS:
There was a special presentation on the emerging issue of Single Seniors. Dr. Annie Koshi and Mr. Romesh Tewari deliberated on the issue at length. Please also see the progress report 2004-05 'Single Seniors Network'

PROGRESS REPORT: 2004-05

NIAASC MEMBERS SYMAPATHIZE
The members of NIAASC witnessed, what people all over the World did, during the last year: NATURAL DISASTERS: Tsunami hitting some 11 countries; Katrina, Rita & Wilma hurricanes in USA; and earthquake in the Kashmir region. We all sympathize with victims and their families.

FUTURE VISION:
The year 2005 began with a broader vision projected by its new President, Dr. Ashwin Pandya, at the first Board meeting in January 2005. He visualized that we should develop closer affiliations with senior programs, without compromising our basic role as an information, referral and advocacy entity. NIAASC developed Procedures and Guidelines to create 'chapters' that were approved by the Board of Directors. It was underscored that the concept of 'chapters' is more in the spirit of partnership, so that there is a unified voice for seniors of Indian Origin at the national level. During the same month NIAASC also decided to appoint Mr. Rajeshwar Prasad, former President and Cofounder of NIAASC, as Executive Director with voting privileges.

CONFERENCE IN CALIFORNIA: In February Mr. Prasad, Dr. Samir K. Dutta, NIAASC Vice President and Dr. (Mrs.) Prem Prasad attended a 2-day conference in Artesia, California, arranged by a team of community leaders led by Dr. Ashok Sapre on "Issues, Aspirations and Options in Senior Years for Indo-Americans." Their presentations and interactive discussions were widely acclaimed by 75 attendees who had come from all over the USA.
SINGLE SENIORS NETWORK: In April Dr. Bhanumathi Ivatury, Director of Social Services in Texas, along with Dr. Annie Koshi from Riverdale, NY attended the NIAASC Board meeting and presented issues and concerns of Single Seniors: "The needs of Indian senior singles are different from the Indian senior couples. They feel isolated. Loneliness and lack of purpose haunts them. Need for companionship and relationship with their age cohort becomes dominant. Often, they are neglected and abused emotionally and occasionally they are also financially abused and often burdened with responsibilities beyond their physical abilities." NIAASC modified its membership form where in single members would identify if there are 'never married, divorced or widowed' to underscore importance of single seniors issues. A formal plan of action is still in works.


PRESENTATIONS AT SILVER JUBILEE OF NATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS: NIAASC representatives made presentations at the silver Jubilee celebrations of National Federation of Indian Associations (NFIA) and North American Bengali Conference (NABC). On May 28, Mr. Prasad spoke at the special session of Community Services of NFIA, comprising some 200 associations, on issues and aspirations of seniors; and was joined on July 2 & 3 by Dr. Dutta and Dr. Pandya to speak before the NABC. Dr. Dutta was one of the key organizers of NABC which was reportedly attended by some 11,000 people. Both conferences provided a wider exposure to NIAASC.


CONFERENCE BY THE CENTERS OF MEDICARE AND MEDICAID SERVICES: On July 27th, Dr. Sushila Gidwani-Buschi, NIAASC Board member and former Vice President, attended a conference sponsored by the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services, Department of Health and Human Services, which covered wide range of issues related to Medicare Part D (Discount Prescription Drug Program), Social Security, and different Insurance Plans.

WHITE HOUSE CONFERENCE ON AGING EVENTS: The NIAASC presented a paper at the Nassau County White House Conference Event on June 15th, and attended another Event on October 14th. For the Event on June 15th the Nassau County Department of Senior Citizen Affairs (an Area Agency on Aging) had requested Solution-Based issue papers. NIAASC submitted a paper on "Adaptation by Recent Seniors of Indian Origin in U.S.A." Of the large number of papers submitted the department selected seven papers, including the one submitted by NIAASC, for presentation at the Hofstra University on June 15. Mr. Prasad presented the paper. The event was attended by some 300 seniors. Including NIAASC officials. The conference was moderated by Dr. Sharon Mullon, Commissioner of the Nassau County Department of Senior Citizen Affairs. The event on October 14th focused on 'Housing Issues' and papers were presented on various alternates available for seniors: Shared Housing, Independent Housing, Assisted Living, and Naturally Occurring Residential Communities. Both events were meant to provide Commissioner Mullon an opportunity to present the concerns of seniors at the White House Conference on Aging (WHCOA) in Washington in December, 2005. The WHCOA is held after every ten years.

CELEBRATION BY INDO-AMERICAN COUNCIL OF SENIORS OF EDISON: On September 18, Dr. Pandya, Mr. & Mrs. Prasad attended the 10th anniversary of Indo-American Council of Seniors of Edison, New Jersey in Edison. All senior programs in New Jersey joined the celebrations. The founder of the Council, late Purushottam Karra, was actively involved with NIAASC since its inception in 1998 and served on its Board of Directors till his death in February 2004. The event recognized the contributions made by seniors in New Jersey, and a number of political and governmental officials also spoke on this occasion.

COLLABORATIONS WITH ONGOING SENIOR PROGRAMS: In May, NIAASC collaborated with the India Association of Long Island (IALI) at its seventh Senior Luncheon. It is planning the same role at the IALI eighth senior luncheon on December 4, 2005. The keynote speaker at the 7th luncheon was Barbara Nayyar MS, specialist in Gerontology with extensive direct and supervisory experience. The topic was "psychological Changes of Seniors and How to Handle Them." NIAASC Board Members remain involved with many ongoing senior programs such as Mr. Ramasubramanian with the Hindu Temple, Dr. Pandya and Chandubhai Patel with the Senior Citizen Center of New York, E.M.Stephen with the Indian American Kerala Center, Satya and Satpal Malhotras with IALI and Guru Gobind Singh Senior Programs, Rajeshwar Prasad with the United Hindu Cultural Council Senior Program. Efforts are underway to expand this involvement to other programs including eleven programs in New Jersey. At the monthly meeting of India Association of Long Island, Ms. Alpa Pandya Esq., and Dr. Ashwin Pandya explained the importance of the 'End of Life' instruments: (Living Will, Health Proxy and Durable Power of Attorney). They asked the participants to fill out the above forms, duly signed and witnessed, for proper record. All in attendance complied with. It is expected that other "End of Life" issues would be addressed in subsequent meetings.

NIAASC Newsletter is published three times a year. It is currently mailed to about 450 persons in the USA. It covers updated information on issues pertinent to seniors. NIAASC Web site (www.niaasc.org) and its toll free telephone (1-866-6-NIAASC) generate considerable interest from all over the country.

Media Coverage:
NIAASC representatives have appeared before South Asian World Television, ITV and RBC Radio. On June 15 Mr. Ramasubramanian appeared for a 10-minute interview at the South Asian World Television speaking about NIAASC and senior issues. Mr. Prasad appeared live on the RBC radio three Sundays in July for 5-10 minute interviews on the program conducted by Mr. Arish Sahani. Dr. Pandya, Ramasubramanian and Prasad appeared on ITV on October 19 to speak about the program on October 29th and issues pertaining to seniors. A number of Indian weekly newspapers also carried the news about NIAASC activities.

FUTURE PLANS:
NIAASC shall expand the ongoing activities. It would work to streamline the affiliation process with ongoing senior programs as well as with organizations interested to develop senior programs. It would formalize the ADVISORY COUNCIL and select professionals and community leaders who can be a great resource in areas such as grant writing. It would concentrate on membership enrolment, and would also focus on fundraising to make NIAASC a strong and fiscally viable organization. It is also planning to actively develop liaison with senior programs throughout USA and seek their participation on the NIAASC Board of Directors and proposed Advisory Council. We will work towards developing a Single Seniors Network, and seek cooperation of agencies that have similar programs.

Progress Report Prepared by Rajeshwar Prasad, NIAASC Executive Director
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CORPORATE SPONSORS:
MAAZA Beverages Brand Inc.

COLLABORATORS
The Indian American Kerala Center India Association of Long Island

NOT FOR PROFIT SPONSORS
Nav Nirmaan Kanchi Kamakoti Seva Foundation and
Senior Citizen Center of New York

INDIVIDUAL SPONSORS
Samir K. Dutta Sushila Gidwani-Buschi Satpal & Satya Malhotra
Hari Mehta Ashwatha Narayanan Ashwin & Anjali Pandya
Rajeshwar & Prem Prasad MK Ramasubramanian Ashok Satkalmi
Asha and Arun Samant Romesh Tewari Satish Varma


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS:
NIAASC gratefully acknowledges financial support from Corporate sponsors, Not for profit
Organizations and individual sponsors. It also acknowledges with gratitude support from Collaborators