NATIONAL INDO-AMERICAN ASSOCIATION FOR SENIORCITIZENS (NIAASC) NEWSLETTER

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7 Roberta Avenue, Farmingville, NY 11738 Spring/Summer 2003 Issue Editors: Rajeshwar Prasad & Ashwin Pandya MD

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Web Site: www.niaasc.org E-mail: niaasc@aol.com Telephone # 1-866-6-NIAASC ( 1-866-664-2272)

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NIAASC LOSES A DEDICATED LEADER:

On February 10, 2003, we lost our secretary due to an unexpected massive heart attack. MATHEW KOSHI had been involved with the NIAASC since its inception and was unanimously reelected as secretary in November 2002 for a 2-year term. The following resolution was adopted by NIAASC Board and addressed to his wife, Annie:

"We, the Members of the NIAASC Board of Directors,wish to place on record our heartfelt condolences to you and members of your family on the sad demise of Mathew Koshi. Mathew's contributions to the Indian Community as a whole and in particular to NIAASC cannot be adequately enumerated. By his quiet, dignified temperament, he lent valuable support and encouragement to the community activities and was always a voice of reason and accommodation on issues no matter how controversial and complicated they were. He was a consensus builder on every issue and always strove for harmony and unity of purpose in his actions. NIAASC benefited immensely from his sagely counsel--the likes of which cannot easily be emulated or replicated. We once again wish to place on record our deep appreciation of Mathew's prodigious contributions for which the Indian community as a whole and NIAASC in particular will be eternally grateful."

Mathew Koshi, born in Kerala, India, spent childhood in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). During 1942, Mr. Koshi participated in the 'Quit India' movement, while in school. From India he moved to Kenya and was a teacher and headmaster (principal) of a High School there. He was one of the founders of Kenya Schools Sports Council in 1964 which has consistently produced some world class athletes. In USA, Mr. Koshi had been very active in leadership roles with a number or community organizations: Federation of Indian Associations; Founder of St. Berchmans/Assumption Colleges Alumni Association; Constitution Committee of the St. Thomas Ecumenical Association of North America; Founder/Patron, member of Board of Directors of the Indian American Kerala Center; President, Kerala Samajam of Greater New York (1989) and Chairman, Board of Trustees (1994). In 1998 Mr. Koshi retired as Science (Physics) teacher, Midwood High School at Brooklyn College, New York.

 

Our heartfelt condolences go to the family and friends of Professor Ashakant Nimbark who was a moderator and speaker at the NIAASC first conference in 1998. His involvement with the Indian community goes a long way and he was responsible to bring closer our community and the Dowling College in Oakdale. We will miss him very much.

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BOARD OF DIRECTORS: Officers: Rajeshwar Prasad, president (631-698-0512), Ashwin Pandya MD, vice president (516-292-9741), Ashok Satkalmi Ph.D., vice president (718-343-9038), Tara Kotecha, secretary (516-826-0486) and Romesh Tewari, treasurer ( 732-727-9456)

Board Members: Sushila Gidwani-Buschi: Dobbs Ferry NY, Purushottam Karra: Edison NJ, Satya Malhotra RN (newly selected): Westbury NY, Kamla Motihar: Flushing NY, Manoj K. Patel Esq.: Jersey City NJ, M.K.Ramasubramanian: Fresh Meadows NY, Asha Samant DDS: Livingston NJ, V.N.Sehgal MD: Jackson Heights NY, Suprabhat Sengupta: Flushing NY, Chandrakant Shah: Floral Park NY, Vipin Shah: Old Bridge NJ, E.M.Stephen: Elmont NY, Surendra Sutaria, East Meadow NY, Satish Varma MD: New Hyde Park NY.

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BRIEF HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE OF NIAASC:

The National Indo-American Association for Senior Citizens (NIAASC) initiated in 1998 and incorporated in early 1999, is a nonprofit 501C3 organization. Its mission is to serve seniors through information, referral and advocacy services. NIAASC has organized six conferences and workshops and subjects covered included: Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicare and Medicaid Basics, Long Term Care, Transportation, Family Conflicts & Compromises Faced by Seniors, Senior Housing, Assisted Living, Respite Care, Process of Knowing and Availing Services for Seniors, Elder Law, and Process of Advocacy. NIAASC through formal surveys, informal discussions and observations, has identified problems faced by Indian seniors in USA, their needs and aspirations. It has periodically published its newsletter and/or progress reports. Its representatives have appeared on television, written articles of interest to seniors and their families. Its pamphlet 'How to Set Up Senior Citizen Program' is available on request. Its collaborative efforts with the Indian American Kerala Cultural and Civic Center, the Hindu Temple Society of North America, India Association of Long Island, United Hindu Cultural Council Senior Center, Senior Citizens Group of New York which meets twice a month at the Vaishnav Temple, and others have provided rich and valuable feedback on issues of seniors of Indian origin. Its Board of Directors is composed of individuals with dedication and professionalism in different fields. It provides a continuity of efforts by virtue of the fact that only one-third of its members retire every year, though eligible to be reelected. Its membership is open to all but decision-making rests with members 50 years of age and over. NIAASC remains an information, referral and advocacy entity and it brings to the attention of seniors and their families services available in their local communities and encouraging them to utilize the same.

COLLABORATIVE EFFORTS:

To fulfill one of its objectives NIAASC has always believed in collaborating with existing groups and agencies thereby avoiding reinventing wheels. During this period NIAASC has continued its collaborative arrangements with a number of organizations -governmental and non-governmental- with fruitful and productive results.

India Association of Long Island: Since 2000 NIAASC has collaborated with the India Association of Long Island

(IALI) in its Luncheon Programs for Seniors. The recently held luncheon on April 27, 2003, focused on Nutrition: Ayurvedic Perspective, and was attended by over 80 persons. Coordinated by Mr. Sunil Uppal the program included talks by Dr. Kul Anand, a physician with geriatric specialization and Rita Batheja, a certified well-known nutritionist and dietitian. During panel discussion these speakers were joined by Dr. Ashwin Pandya, a practicing Psychiatrist and vice president of NIAASC. The panel was moderated by Mr. Rajeshwar Prasad, NIAASC president. The program also included music and raffle coordinated respectively by Ms. Gitanjli Anand and Ms. Avinash Suri, both past presidents of IALI.

Long Island Gujarati Cultural Society: On April 13, 2003, Dr. Pandya and Mr. Prasad were invited to speak at a meeting of Long Island Gujarati Cultural Society in Bellport, Long Island. The LIGCS initiated their senior citizens program by forming an adhoc committee with Prafull Shah as its coordinator. The meeting attended by over 200 people included beautiful Indian live music, talks on Yoga, traditional Indian medicine and were treated to traditional Indian food.

Rajasthan Association of North America (RANA):NIAASC president has been invited to speak on the issues and aspirations of seniors at a convention by RANA on July 4, 2003. The convention takes place in Long Island from July 3 to July 6.

NIAASC is pleased to inform you that the Hindu Temple Society of North America on Bowne Street in Flushing, New York conducts once a week on Wednesdays its senior citizens program from 10:00 in the morning till 3:00 in the afternoon. Mrs. Nirmala Ramasubramanian, chairperson of the Senior Citizens Committee of the Temple and Dr. Uma Mysorekar, the Temple President, are very enthusiastic for the program and intend to carry it out on a daily basis once the building under construction is completed in the Fall 2003. The program is open to all. NIAASC also serves on the Temple's Senior Citizens Committee and as and when required provides technical and logistic support. We may also recognize that the Senior Citizens Group of New York which meets twice a month at the Vaishnav Temple in Holliswood is growing by leaps and bounds. Dr. Ashwin Pandya, NIAASC VP and Chandubhai Patel (soon to join the NIAASC Board) have been involved with this program since its inception about 6 years ago. NIAASC continues to work with the Indian American Kerala Center in Elmont & United Hindu Cultural Society Senior Center in South Ozone Park, Queens. The NIAASC has also established new alliance with the Senior Citizens Program in the Town of Brookhaven. In a recent meeting with the Director of the Program, Donna Bonacci, the NIAASC president and Vice president welcomed the Town as NIAASC member. There was serious interaction and enthusiasm during the 2-hour meeting in Medford and the director offered all possible assistance to NIAASC and its sister agencies in Long Island.

PRINA has offered its volunteers and services to arrange a Trip to Atlantic City for NIAASC members and other seniors interested. The trip will be a day-long trip with lunch for a very modest fee to meet the bus expenses. Details have not been worked out and those interested should contact the NIAASC VP Dr. Ashwin Pandya at 516-292-9741.

NEW SECRETARY OF NIAASC: Tara Kotecha took over the responsibilities as NIAASC secretary early this spring. She is an accomplished artist and has served community in various capacities. Her amenable composure and her demeanor are so suited for a program where seniors of Indian origin have to express their difficulties and problems during conferences and workshops. NIAASC Board is proud to select Tara as its new secretary and she will fill up the position held by Mathew Koshi.

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ADVOCACY FOR SENIORS: PROCESS

The interactive 'Advocacy Workshop' organized by the National Indo-American Association for Senior Citizens (NIAASC) on April 26, 2003 at the Kerala Center attracted 18 community leaders form eight different Indian organizations in New York area. The lead speaker for this two and a half hour workshop was Ms. Bobbie Sackman MSW, Director of Public Policy at the Council for Senior Centers and Services (CSCS), a membership entity with over 325 senior centers and organizations in New York City. The workshop focused on the process of advocacy.

Objective of the Workshop:

In his opening remarks Mr. Rajeshwar Prasad, NIAASC president, stated that NIAASC, an information, referral and advocacy group, has initiated almost nothing so far in the area of advocacy. He underscored the fact that we lack talents, skills and know-how of advocacy. He enumerated its ongoing successful efforts in the other two areas of information and referral. Recognizing the fact that each organization plays a pivotal role in advocacy efforts and interaction will benefit all, NIAASC undertook the leading role in organizing the workshop. Mr. Prasad emphasized that NIAASC does not believe in reinventing wheels and focused the importance of utilizing resources and services provided by different Indian and non-Indian organizations, governmental and non-governmental institutions.

Presentation by the Lead Speaker:

In her elaborate and eloquent presentation Ms. Sackman forewarned that advocacy or lobbying for legitimate causes of seniors, like any other group, requires patience, perseverance, and hard work. She clarified the notion which many community leaders carry that the role of nonprofit agencies in political arena is very limited. For a just cause non profits should not hesitate to meet elected political officials and their staff.. She outlined the following crucial points in the process of advocacy and supported each point with an example based on her many years of practical experience in the field.

Crucial Points in the Advocacy Process:

* Always go as a group -a Coalition - with a clear message or issue to present

* Study the issue thoroughly beforehand so that you can present it effectively and productively.

* A close contact with educational institutions is an asset for any community organization as these institutions have physical and manpower resources and have capability to identify and utilize financial resources.

* Never leave behind the seniors you are working for. A grassroots approach is the most effective means and the political system moves when an issue or message presented has a human face, viz a 75-year old man with disability appearing with the group leaves a lasting impression on a politician.

* Presenting an issue with solid data, supported by a human face, and identified as a priority, goes a long way in the political process.

* Always follow up on your meetings. An ongoing contact with a staff member of an elected official and a respectful and credible way of following up on your concerns is very essential.

* Invite the elected officials to your functions. However, more effective and productive results can be accomplished if you visit the office of elected officials and meet them and their staff.

* Be on the mailing list of your local politicians and attend town meetings and other events. This will help your organization considerably as elected officials recognize your concerns with a broader perspective.

* The issue presented by you should be in a broader context. Politicians and decision makers are impressed when a specific issue projects a much broader picture.

* Because of our acculturation issues :social, cultural and religious values - it is all the more important that you develop a coalition around an issue. Problems and concerns of seniors, for example, is an issue where multitude of agencies can come together as a coalition for advocacy purposes. Always focus on an issue rather than on a specific organization.

* The most effective way to convey your message is if you have regular staff to follow up. It should be understood that as a 'coalition' you have more resources and it is easier to have a paid staff.

Participating Organizations:

The organizations represented at this workshop included CSCS, Association of Indians in America (AIA), India Association of Long Island (IALI), The Hindu Temple Society of North America, Senior Citizens Program of New York at the Vaishnav Temple, Indian American Kerala Cultural and Civic Center, Nav Nirmaan and NIAASC. People representing these organizations were the presidents or those holding senior leadership positions. Participants elaborated on their organization's mission and its involvement with the issues of seniors of Indian origin.

Interactive Discussion:

During the discussion phase, Dr. Urmilesh Arya, AIA-NY president, Mr. Satpal Malhotra, IALI president,

Mr. M.K.Ramasubramanian and Mr. Mani Subramanian from the Hindu Temple, Dr. Ashok Satkalmi, Nav Nirmaan president, Mr. Chandubhai Patel and Dr. Ashwin Pandya of Vaishnav Temple Senior Program, Mr. E.M.Stephen, Kerala Center president, provided a glimpse of their efforts in programming for seniors and their intentions to proceed with advocacy on issues affecting their membership. In a communiqué on the occasion of workshop, CHHAYA, Community Development Corporation, an affiliate of Asian Americans for Equality, offered to NIAASC and other agencies an account of their services for housing and problems on landlord-tenant disputes. After this interactive discussion, participants agreed that the presentation by Ms. Sackman was like an eye opener for the Indian community in New York. 'Let us focus on unity in our diverse community' and work together for a cause was the substance of their feelings and expression.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, the workshop provided a framework for advocacy process. The NIAASC will attempt to have specific areas of concern to seniors of Indian origin and with professionals like Ms. Sackman, arrange more advocacy workshops. Some of the areas identified were Medicaid, Assisted Living, Nursing Homes, Senior Housing. A number of issues were highlighted for example, why can't we have a separate unit in a nursing home where people of Indian origin can have food, and environment to suit their social, cultural and religious values, how can we proceed with development of housing for seniors where people in their senior years can feel more comfortable and at home? Though these are major issues but today's workshop provided us with a road map to go from this point on, so that future workshops could endeavor on specific issues.

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NIAASC Financial Statement for year 2002-03 is being mailed to NIAASC members only

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NIAASC WEB SITE HAS BEEN SIMPLIFIED & REORGANIZED FOR BETTER ACCESSIBILITY

WWW.NIAASC.ORG

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NIAASC acknowledges with gratitude financial support for this newsletter by Dr. Ashwin Pandya, a practicing psychiatrist and vice president of NIAASC

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Contact NIAASC with your specific problem by calling its toll free number 1-866-6-NIAASC (1-866-664-2272). Browse its web site with many linkages: www.niaasc.org. Please e-mail any event or worthwhile information for the benefit of seniors and/or their families to NIAASC for wider circulation and attention to: NIAASC@aol.com.

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Asian American Elders in New York City: Executive summary or full report available on the web site of Asian American Federation of New York: www.aafny.org

A study of health, social needs, quality of life and quality of care was recently completed by the Asian American Federation of New York in collaboration with Brookdale Center on Aging, Hunter College. The study had a sample of 407 Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese adults age 65 and over living in one of the five boroughs of New York City. NIAASC has excerpted data for Asian Indians from this landmark study and highlighted their status compared to overall Asian American Elders. It provides sufficient information that collaborative efforts are essential among different agencies to resolve the problems and address the issues identified in the study. In a number of areas Asian Indians project different situations and thus may require programs conducive to their social and economic way of life, while collaborating for many programs with Asian American Elders as a group. We have identified findings for Asian Indian Elders vis-a-vis Asian American Elders. Of the sample of 407, Indian elders constituted 24.6%.

A. Demographic and Other Characteristics of Indian Elders in relation to Asian Elders:

AVERAGE AGE: MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME

Indian Elders: 70.3 years (is lowest) Indian Elders: $10-12,000 Japanese Highest

Asian Elders: 72.4 years Asian Elders: $06-8,5000 $15-25,000

MEDIAN AGE AT IMMIGRATION: REASONS FOR IMMIGRATION

Indian Elders: 50 years Family Wanted Me: Indian Elders: 53% Koreans Highest 85% Vietnamese (Highest) 62 years Asian Elders: 62%

Japanese (Lowest) 40 years Take a Job: Indian Elders: 48% Vietnamese Lowest

Asian Elders: 25% 0%

Political Instability was the reason for 28% Vietnamese

Study finding continued

 

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NIAASC IS GRATEFUL TO ASIAN AMERICAN FEDERATION OF NEW YORK FOR LETTING US HIGHLIGHT FINDINGS RELATED TO ASIAN INDIANS IN THEIR STUDY OF ASIAN ELDERS IN NEW YORK CITY

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EDUCATION:

High School: Indian Elders: 57% Korean Elders MARITAL STATUS

Asian Elders: 44% (highest) 81% Married: Indian Elders: 62% Vietnamese Highest 68%

Some College: Indian Elders: 26% Japanese Elders Asian Elders: 50%

Asian Elders: 44% (highest) 84% Widowed Indian Elders: 33% Koreans Highest 62%

Asian Elders: 42%

LIVING ARRANGEMENTS:

Renting an apartment/house: Indian Elders: 85% Contrary to our perception only 26% Indian Elders have some

Asian Elders: 67% College; In median household income Indian Elders exceed

Owning an apartment/house Indian Elders: 15% all other Asian Elders except Japanese; About half of Indian

60% Japanese own apt./house Asian Elders: 11% Elders (immigrating at average age 50) came for taking a job.

B. INFORMAL SOCIAL SUPPORT: Findings are impacted by gender, marital status & age (65-74 or older than 74)of Asian Elders

HOUSEHOLD:

64% Indian Elders live in household with four or more persons compared to 37% overall Asian American Elders; Only 3% live alone versus 19% Asian Elders; Also notable is the fact that only 13% Indian Elders live as 2 persons in household compared to 30% of all Asian American Elders.

INTERACTION WITH SIBLINGS:

91% Indian Elders were the most apt to report having siblings (both brothers and sisters) compared to 81% Asian elders; Percentage of visiting their siblings once a year or less was reported by 56% Indian Elders compared to 48% Asian Elders; 6% Indian Elders never visited their siblings whereas 7% visited everyday.

INTERACTION OF ELDERS WITH CHILDREN/GRAND CHILDREN:

On average Indian Elders had 2.4 children, which is not significantly different from the overall Asian American Elders who had 2.6 children. However, interaction with children shows that most Indian Elders (almost 76%) apt to visit their children more often than overall Asian Elder (53.5%). 79% Indian Elders see their children everyday compared to 46.5% overall Asian American Elders. Also Indian Elders are most likely (60.5%) to care for their grand children, whereas Japanese elders were least likely (6.3%).

INTERACTION WITH NEIGHBORS:

Mutual help between Elders and their neighbors is an important indicator of social support. Indians were most apt to help their neighbors in various tasks as evident from the following data: Indian Elders were on top in help with shopping, when someone was ill and in visiting neighbors. In lending money to neighbors, accompanying neighbors to doctors and picking up mail for neighbors Indian Elders were second to the Japanese Elders:

Indian Elders topped in the following help to neighbors:

Assistance with Shopping:

Indian Elders: 92.4% Overall Asian Elders: 62.6% Vietnamese were least with 21.1%

Assistance when someone was ill:

Indian Elders: 92.4% Overall Asian Elders: 79.5% Chinese were the least with 37.0%

Visiting Neighbors:

Indian Elders: 98.7% Overall Asian Elders: 91.2% All ethnic groups were above 75%

Indian Elders were second in help to neighbors, the highest were Japanese Elders in the following areas:

Lending money to neighbors: Indian Elders (65.8%) Japanese (77.3%) Overall Asian Elders: 36.6%

Accompanying To see Doctors: Indian Elders (69.6%) Japanese (77.3%) Overall Asian Elders: 46.7%

Picking up mail for neighbors: Indian Elders (38.0%) Japanese (81.8%)

Overall Asian Elders: 35.2%

ROLE OF PARENTS (ELDERS) AND CHILDREN IN MUTUAL HELP: INTER GENERATIONAL SUPPORT SYSTEM

Parents Helping Children in Various Tasks: Indian Elders were on top in housekeeping, fixing things, running errands (tie with Japanese), and assisting children in times of illness,

Housekeeping Assistance: Indian Elders: 71.4% Chinese Elders were least in assisting: 24.4%

Fix Things around the house: Indian Elders: 78.0% Korean Elders were least in assisting: 7.0%

Running Errands (shopping etc.) Indian Elders: 63.7% Korean Elders were least in assisting: 21.4%

Help in times when someone is ill: Indian Elders: 89.0% Korean Elders were least in assisting: 32.6%

Indian Elders were second to Japanese Elders in helping children with money: 46.2% Vs 50.0%; Koreans & Vietnamese tie with 5.6%

The most significant finding when elders were asked about giving advice on running a home and bringing up grandchildren, Indian Elders were the least: Indian Elders: 8.8% Korean Elders were the highest with 66.3%

Children Helping Parents in Various Tasks: Here too Indian Elders were helped the most by their children in almost all tasks:

Helping with Transportation: Indian Americans: 85.2% Filipinos were the least with 46.7%

Helping out with Money: Indian Americans: 72.6% Vietnamese were the least with 16.7%

Meals Preparation (tie with Japanese): Indian Americans: 68.1% Koreans were the least with 22.0%

Keep or Clean House (housekeeping): Indian Americans: 75.8% Koreans were the least with 24.1%

Fixing Things around the House: Indian Americans: 87.9% Koreans were the least with 16.5%

Shop or run Errands: Indian Americans: 92.2% Koreans and Vietnamese tie 50.0% ea

Help out when you are ill: Indian Americans: 97.8% All ethnic groups were high 69.9-95.5%

Giving Advice on Money Matters:

(second to Japanese 95.5%) Indian Americans: 84.6% Chinese were the least with 34.1%

Role of parents and children shows a significant variation of Indian Elders compared to other ethnic groups. In all areas there is significant interdependence between the Indian Elders and their children. It is noteworthy as this informal support system requires children to be equally aware of formal support systems available for their elderly parents.

C. HELP NEEDED WITH SUPPORTIVE SERVICES: (Indian elders Vs overall Asian Elders)

Contrary to our perception , Indian American Elders were the highest is asking for translation help (59% Vs 28%).

Also Indian Elders were highest in seeking help in home repairs (59% Vs 21%); someone to visit/call you (58% Vs 23%); transport to doctor/clinic ( 49% Vs 32%); help with entitlements ( 44% Vs 28%); help with housekeeping, personal care ( 42% - second to Japanese 44% - Vs 23%); someone to care for you after hospital stay (21% Vs 12%).

Which Formal Services (a list of 23 services covered in the study) Asian American Elders Turned to, it is noteworthy that Indian American Elders were the highest who turned to Medicaid Offices (40% Vs 27%); Indian Elders were also high in turning to Medicare Offices, closely behind Filipinos (44%) and Koreans (43%): Indian Elders were 41% Vs overall Asian Elders 34%. Indian Elders also were highest to ask for Legal Services (30% Vs 10%); Immigration and Naturalization Services ( 27% Vs 12% - Vietnamese were slightly higher with 28%); Police (15% Vs 5%); Spiritualist (24% Vs 6%); In turning to Social Security Office Indian Elders were third behind Japanese (68%) and Filipinos (60%): Indian Elders were 39% Vs overall Asian Elders 31%. Only 1% Indian Elders (Lowest) turned to Senior Centers whereas 23% Asian Elders chose to turn to Senior Centers. Equally significant is the least utilization of Home Care Services (1%) and services of Social Worker (1%)

One may conclude that Indian Elders depend very much on inter generational and informal support than formal support for meeting their needs. There is also a great likelihood that they are not aware of many formal services.

The study also indicates that Indian Elders were the lowest compared to overall Asian Elders in having regular source of Medical Care ( 48% Vs 80%) as well as regular source of Western doctor (47% Vs 79%). The Indian Elders were the highest who were not satisfied with treatment or attention from doctors (28% Vs 13%). Least number of Indian Elders are enrolled in Medicare Part A (16% Vs 51%), Medicare Part B (43% Vs 66%). Indian Elders on Medicaid were lowest next to Japanese Elders (25% Vs 41% - Japanese were the lowest 9%). Indian Elders were also highest in needing supportive help but not getting it in the area of Entitlement 55% as well as in language translation 49% (almost tie with Japanese 50%).

The study also focused on Traditional Values such as family linkage, extended family, role of eldest son, respect and obedience, approving children's mates, divorce, expectations from children for parents' sacrifices. Indian Elders pattern was more or less identical to overall Asian Elders. With regard to issues such as problems within family, care giving burden, dependence on other people, anxiety and loneliness, general life satisfaction, the Indian Elders were also in line with Asian American Elders.

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YOU MAY LIKE TO KNOW: (Based on questions received by NIAASC on its toll free telephone)

Social Security / Medicare

Though the full retirement age for those born in 1938 and later will be gradually increasing, you will still get Medicare at age 65. It may also be pointed out that people currently reaching 65 and plan to continue working should remember to apply for Medicare a few months before their 65th birthday, even if they wish to delay filing for Social Security Benefits.

Supplemental Security Income: SSI

Supplemental Security Income is a need-based program. Any income you receive regularly is deducted from SSI payments. It can also be reduced if you are living with family or friends and you are not paying your full share of expenses.

Social Security Web site and Telephone:

For all your inquiries related to Social Security, SSI and Medicare you can call 24-hour at 1-800-772-1213. The new web site for Social Security is www.socialsecurity.gov. If you use the old web site you can still get information you need.

Financial Support for Low Income Beneficiaries:

There are state programs that can pay for your Medicare Part B health insurance premiums (currently $58.70 per month) deductibles and/or coinsurance if you have low income and limited resources but earn too much to qualify for Medicaid. These programs are called Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB), Special Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary (SLMB), and Qualifying Individuals (Q1 and Q2). The programs may not be available in all states. Determination for eligibility for these programs is based on your income and resources and may differ from state to state. If your income and resources are too limited you may qualify for Medicaid - a joint federal and state program. Most of your health care costs are covered if you have both Medicare and Medicaid. For details of state programs for Medicare Savings call your Medical Assistance Office and ask for Medicare Savings Programs. In case you do not have telephone number of your state office, you may call 1-800-MEDICARE ( 1-800 633-4227), You may also call niaasc at its toll free number 1-866-6-NIAASC (1-866-664-2272).

 

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NIAASC will be pleased to incorporate in its future newsletters information about senior programs for elders of Indian origin in USA. Please e-mail the information to NIAASC with name of the organization and/or program, its address and telephone number, activities undertaken, number of seniors benefiting, eligibility requirements if any, contact person and his/her telephone number.

HAVE A VERY HAPPY AND ENJOYABLE SUMMER 2003:

NIAASC WISHES YOU ALL A HAPPY JULY FOURTH

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FOR NIAASC MEMBERSHIP BENEFITS AND ENROLMENT GO TO ITS WEB SITE: WWW.NIAASC.ORG

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