1824 Fairfax Street, Elmont NY 11003: Fall/Winter 2000 Issue: Editors: Rajeshwar Prasad & Ashwin Pandya MD
ORIGIN & CREATION OF NIAASC:
The National Indo-American Association for Senior Citizens has been in existence for about 20 months, though the initial work commenced in July 1998. The National Asian Pacific Center on Aging (NAPCA), based in Seattle, Washington, approached the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO), expressing an interest in expanding its capacity building project to cover Indian Americans in the United States. At a dinner meeting in July 1998 with the NAPCA's executive director and project coordinator, some 20 Indian community leaders decided to initiate work for seniors of Indian origin. In order to understand the issues, problems and aspirations of our seniors, a full-day interactive `Conference on Seniors' was held in September 1998, attended by about 65 persons (more about the conference in the body of the newsletter). The conference provided the participants an overview of services for seniors, entitlement programs, unique problems and needs of seniors of Indian origin. The conference was a great success and its impact was felt nationwide. Interested community leaders in other states inquired about the steps being undertaken to address the issues pertaining to seniors. A working group created at the September conference carried the task of developing a mechanism and program for seniors. After four months' deliberations, the NIAASC was created and incorporated in New York and designated as a nonprofit organization under section 501C3 of Internal Revenue Service, in April 1999.
MISSION AND OBJECTIVES:
The mission of the National Indo-American Association for Senior Citizens (NIAASC) is to serve as the leading national information, referral and advocacy organization committed to the well being and quality of life of Indo-Americans in their senior years. The NIAASC was created in response to the growing population of Indo-American seniors, and their social, cultural and other unique needs. The NIAASC is dedicated to providing information, referral and advocacy for the benefit of Indo-American seniors at the local, state and national levels. Issues the NIAASC will address, among others, include: SSI, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Citizenship, Job Opportunities, Senior Housing, Nutrition, and Health Care, including long term health care. The objectives include:
- creating awareness of Indo-American senior issues and needs;
- providing information on issues and services;
- advocacy at the local, state and national levels on issues pertaining to seniors;
- forging collaborations with public and private service providers;
- providing advisory support to Indian community, business and professional groups in developing senior programs and services;
- educating the public through workshops, conferences and seminars to address senior issues;
- working with Indian and other groups to collect and store information regarding senior issues and problems.
MEMBERS OF THE NATIONAL INDO-AMERICAN ASSOCIATION FOR SENIOR CITIZENS WISH YOU ALL A HAPPY AND PEACEFUL HOLIDAYS AND SEASONS GREETINGS *********************************************************************************************
We are pleased to present the first newsletter of the National Indo-American Association for Senior Citizens (NIAASC). It provides the reader some basic information about the location of State Units on Aging and Area Agencies on Aging in the states of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut; through a toll free number of `Elder Locator' you can get the same information for other states in USA. The newsletter lists a few health and human service agencies which provide direct services to the South Asian Community in New York City. It has web sites of important government and general agencies and institutions which can be helpful to seniors. It lists the current senior citizens programs with telephone numbers, undertaken by Indian American organizations in New Jersey and New York. Lastly, the reader gets a glimpse of the process in creating the NIAASC, its mission, objectives, its accomplishments, and future plans. What benefits a member of NIAASC gets are also listed in the newsletter, along with the membership form. This is a very helpful and useful document to keep handy, not only for the seniors, but also their relatives on whom the seniors, in many cases, depend for support.
We hope to publish the newsletter three times a year. In future newsletters, attempt will be made to identify specific problems seniors face, particularly in the areas of entitlement programs such as Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid, and the plausible solutions to those problems. We shall bring to the attention of readers significant changes in the laws affecting seniors; focusing on services to seniors provided by Indian community organizations in USA; and identifying the emerging associations undertaking senior citizens programs. We though depend heavily on your cooperation in bringing to our attention any such endeavors being undertaken in your community.
Our intent in this issue has been to provide basic information which may be helpful to anyone interested in the issues and aspirations of seniors. NIAASC believes in establishing linkages, and our efforts in that direction have been evident by helpful liaisons with entities such as American Association of Retired Persons, Asian Americans for Equality, Asian American Federation of New York. We shall be developing similar linkages with Indian community organizations interested in issues affecting seniors.
Please let NIAASC know of any important news about senior citizens programs, social
and health related matters for the benefit of seniors; as well as significant accomplishments
by seniors of Indian origin in USA. To know more about NIAASC, please browse its
web site: www.niaasc.org which will be updated periodically. All communication be mailed to NIAASC at
1824 Fairfax Street, Elmont, NY 11003.
ACTIVITIES and ACCOMPLISHMENTS of NIAASC:
During the short span of its work, the NIAASC has initiated a number of activities:
1. The association sought information about services to seniors from Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) in the metropolitan area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. The response from AAAs has been very positive.
2. NIAASC prepared a pamphlet about its goals, objectives, and activities, and circulated the same to interested groups and individuals. Information about NIAASC was also disseminated through other means such as: live and call-in programs on television, press releases in Indian newspapers, and speaking to different community groups.
3. After analyzing results of a survey conducted at the first conference, and understanding priorities of the senior issues through various meetings and discussions with interested groups and individuals, NIAASC held another interactive `Conference on Seniors' in April 2000 focussing on Medicare and Medicaid (more about the conference appears in the body of the newsletter). The conference also explored different venues for initiating senior citizen programs for Indian elders. Like the first conference, the second conference had specialists and experts from agencies such as Social Security Administration, Health Care Financing Administration, Social Services Departments, Health Insurance Counseling and Assistance Program, Executives from Senior Citizen Programs.
4. NIAASC developed its web site: www.niaasc.org. The Web site includes useful linkages with government and general groups providing services and information to seniors. It also entered into a working arrangement with the Indian American Kerala Center whereby it was provided the usage of the center for meetings and conferences as well as to utilize the space for records, files and telephone. NIAASC's telephone number is (516)358-2300.
5. NIAASC cosponsored a number of activities, conventions, and conferences undertaken by the GOPIO and the Kerala Center. It also provided and continues to provide support in a research project undertaken by an Assistant professor and Program Director of the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at the Penn State University on issues of Indian Seniors.
6. NIAASC representatives developed informal working relationship with a number of senior citizen associations in New Jersey; groups stipulating senior citizens programs in New York City; and groups such as American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), Asian American Federation of New York (AAFNY), Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE) for sharing information for the benefit of seniors.
7. NIAASC representatives testified before the President's Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders which held its second Town Meeting in September 2000 in New York City.
8. NIAASC developed a pamphlet on `Guidelines to Set Up Senior Citizen Programs' for Indian American Seniors and its dissemination will be kicked off at the first General Body Meeting.
9. NIAASC published its first newsletter which will be presented at its first General Body Meeting. The NIAASC proposes to develop three newsletters a year.
FUTURE ACTIVITIES OF NIAASC:
1. NIAASC will be holding its first General Body Meeting on November 18, 2000 at the Kerala Center. All interim Board members will be formally confirmed at this meeting. As per NIAASC Constitution, one-third of the Board members serve for one year; one third for two years; and one third for three years. After this initial year, all Board members will be elected for a period of three years. Coinciding with the General Body Meeting. NIAASC will have a `conference on seniors' (third in the series) which will focus on two pertinent areas of importance to the seniors and their families: (a) In-Family Conflicts and Compromises Faced by Immigrant Seniors and (b) Long Term Health Care. The luncheon speech will address another
important area: `Process of Developing Community-Based Senior Citizen Programs'.
2. NIAASC will be working as a technical resource in the development of a senior citizen program being stipulated by the India Association of Long Island (IALI). The kickoff luncheon for this event is scheduled for December 3, 2000 at the Sitar r
estaurant in Huntington Station, Long Island.
3. The Board of Directors of NIAASC will be electing its officers: President, 2 Vice Presidents, Secretary, and Treasurer at its first organizational meeting to be held immediately after the conference on November 18, 2000. As per NIAASC Constitution, the officers will be elected for a period of two years.
4. NIAASC will initiate its campaign to bring the message of the importance of seniors to community-based organizations as well as to business and professional groups. The pamphlet `How to Set Up a Senior Citizen Program', developed by NIAASC, will provide guidelines to these entities to develop senior citizens program as a component of their ongoing activities.
5. The Board of Directors, in cooperation with other groups, will undertake an intensive membership campaign nationwide to enroll members for NIAASC, both individuals as well as organizations.
6. The Board also plans to rotate its regular meetings in other parts of the metropolitan area to bring the message closer to people as well as be more visible in other parts of the metro area.
For Indian American Seniors
Indo-American Senior Citizens Association of Hudson County, New Jersey: Vinod Kothari 201-798-5704
Membership is open to all Indo-Americans, agencies and organizations which subscribe to the objectives of the NIAASC.
Members will benefit through:
* A periodical newsletter on pertinent issues for seniors.
Name:....................................................Telephone# ( ) ...................... Fax # ( )........................
efforts to seek information about various services to seniors:
Administration on Aging: www.aoa.dhhs.gov
Department of Health and Human Services and headed by an Assistant Secretary (www.os.dhhs.gov).
Health Care Financing Administration: www.hcfa.dhhs.gov
The Health Care Financing Administration is the agency in charge of the Medicare program. However, you should know that it is the local Social Security office which helps you enroll in the program and provides you general Medicare information.
Social Security Administration: www.ssa.gov
Social Security is based on a simple concept: When you work, you pay taxes into the system, and when you retire or you become disabled, your spouse and your dependent children receive monthly benefits that are based on your earnings. Your survivors collect benefits when you die. Important booklets: Social Security - Understanding The Benefits (#05-10024); Social Security - Disability Benefits (#05-10029); Medicare (#05-10043); Social Security - Survival Benefits (#05-10084); Social Security - SSI (#05-11000)
AREA AGENCIES ON AGING:
Please note that Area Agency on Aging (AAA) is a public or private nonprofit agency designated by the state to address the needs and concerns of all older Americans at the local level. `Area Agency on Aging' is a generic term - specific names of local AAAs may vary. A list of AAAs in the NY/NJ/CT metropolitan area appears in this newsletter. You can also get to know your AAA throug the Eldercare Locator
Eldercare Locator is a public service of the US Administration on Aging. Its toll free number is 800-677-1116. It can provide you information and referral service about the State Unit on Aging and Area Agency on Aging: Open Monday to Friday 9:00 A.M. To 8:00 P.M.; after hours is message recording.
OTHER IMPORTANT WEB SITES:
Be a member of NIAASC and join others to address the issues of seniors and find solutions
Conference on Seniors held on September 26, 1998:
Under the umbrella of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO), an interactive full-day conference on seniors was held September 26, 1998 at the Indian American Kerala Center in Elmont, New York. The conference was an outcome of a meeting between the representatives of the National Asian Pacific Center on Aging (NAPCA) and Indian community leaders from the tri-state area on July 22, 1998. That day a planning committee, headed by Mr. Rajeshwar Prasad, initiated the work for the conference. The morning session as devoted entirely to an overview of the problems faced by senior citizens in general and by Indian American seniors in particular. Commissioner Rena Iacono of the department of Senior Citizen Affairs in Nassau County and other speakers enumerated services available through the private and public entities throughout the region. Mr. Purushottam Karra, President of Indian American Senior Citizen Association of New Jersey, outlined the specific problems faced by Indian seniors.
The afternoon session addressed specific areas of concern to seniors. Mr. Vincent Serio from the Social Security Administration, Mr. Steven Ellis, Vice President of Travelers, Ms. Lani Sanjek, Associate Executive Director of the New York Statewide Senior Action Council, Ms. Ellen Bhang, Project Coordinator at NAPCA, Professor Ashakant Nimbark, chairman of Sociology department at the Dowling College and Dr. Jagat Motwani, GOPIO General Secretary, were the speakers and panelists. Dr. Ashwin Pandya outlined the process for future endeavors and he recommended formation of a Working Group to carry the task from that point on. Dr. Thomas Abraham asked the participants to approve the formation of a Working Group under the chairmanship of Mr. Prasad, and some ten participants volunteered to help. Mr. E.M.Stephen, Executive Director of the Kerala Center offered the services of the Center to the newly formed working group. The conference, attended by 65 people, was a great success.
Conference on Seniors held on April 29, 2000:
The National Indo-American Association for Senior Citizens organized the second conference on seniors on April 29, 2000 at the Kerala Center. The focus of the conference was to address the issues of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security as well as to explore ways to develop senior citizen programs for Indian Americans. The morning session deliberated on Medicare and Medicaid Basics led by Ellen Bhang and Dr. Yolanda Sanchez of NAPCA. After the presentation, they moderated a panel consisting of Sandra Escuder, public affairs specialist with the Social Security Administration; Barry Klitsberg, outreach coordinator of Health Care Financing Administration; Clara Woll, coordinator for the New York State Health Insurance Counseling and Assistance Program; and Kathleen Quinn, supervisor of Long Term Care - Medicaid at the department of Social Services of the Nassau County.
The afternoon session, devoted to' issues and services for senior citizens, with focus on Indian Americans' was addressed by Commissioner Rena Iacono and Purushottam Karra. The panel, moderated by Carol Hunt, Executive Director, Jamaica Service Program for Older Adults, included these panelists: Shin Son, Project Director, Senior Citizen Services and Employment Program for the Korean Community Association of Metro New York; Chan Jamoona, Founder and President of the Senior Citizen Center in Richmond Hill sponsored by the United Hindu Cultural Council; Vipin Shah, President, Old Bridge Senior Citizen Program in New Jersey.
DIFFICULTIES AND NEEDS OF INDIAN AMERICAN SENIORS:
A September 1998 NIAASC survey revealed important statistical data on the difficulties and needs faced by the seniors of Indian origin: Transportation (22%); Health Care (16%); Getting Information about Eligibility (14%); Loneliness (11%); Economic Hardship and Financial Support, Employment, Language Problem, and Lack of Elderly Respect, Recreational and Social Activity, Nutrition - reported by 8% to 9% in each category. Other difficulties and needs described included: Legal Counseling, Adult Day Care, Housing, Crime, Driving Car, Use of Telephone, Handling Money, Personal Care and Rehabilitation. The respondents also expressed their ignorance about the services available through the Senior Citizen Centers and Programs as well as location of these centers.
The seniors and their family members expressed need to get information about senior citizen programs, adult day care, home care services, long term care, Medicare & Medicaid, financial counseling, senior housing, adult homes, employment opportunities for seniors, health counseling, crisis intervention, rent subsidy, food stamps, nursing homes.
NIAASC gratefully acknowledges the sponsorship of this issue of the newsletter by Ashwin Pandya M.D.
We look forward to sponsors for future issues of the newsletter and other programs of NIAASC.
Please call NIAASC at (516) 358-2300
NATIONAL INDO-AMERICAN ASSOCIATION FOR SENIOR CITIZENS
HASMUKHLAL R. GANDHI: Hasmukh Gandhi, MSW, with a diploma in Labor Laws Practice has been involved with Senior Citizen Programs in New Jersey for quite some time and recently joined NIAASC. In addition to being a member of statewide Indo-American Senior Citizen Association of New Jersey and countywide Association of Piscatway, Gandhi is also an active member of Gujarati Samaj of New York. He has volunteered extensively in various organizations such as Gandhi Pragati Mandal (established in the name of Mahatma Gandhi). Gandhi worked in different fields after coming to USA in 1970, including having his own enterprise. After retirement he has devoted his voluntary time in Central New Jersey.
SUSHILA GIDWANI-BUSCHI Ph.D.: Sushila Gidwani is one of the most energetic community advocates, particularly for the rights and privileges for women. She has taught Economics, Finance and Accounting and currently provides consultation in Tax and Real Estate. She has published several papers in the areas of Gandhian economics, humanistic, peace and modern economics and their impact upon women. She has traveled extensively in Russia, Eastern Europe, Ukraine and other countries of the world to study different economic societies. Sushila has been very active in community services; she has held presidency of Association of Asian Women in America and Association of Indian Economic Studies; treasurer of the National Federation of Indian Associations and New York Women Economists. Currently she is president of The Organization of Universal Communal Harmony (TOUCH) and Director of The Global Organization of People of Indian Origin. She has been associated with NIAASC since its inception and currently holds the position of Vice President.
PURUSHOTTAM KARRA: Purushottam Karra had worked in India for about 30 years as a Regional Marketing Manager for a leading pharmaceutical Manufacturing Company. In India he was the Cofounder and Secretary of Federation of Medical Reps. Association, and was actively associated with various social, cultural, educational, political and community service-oriented associations. In the USA, since his arrival in 1986, Mr. Karra has been involved as a community activist in providing various services to Indian community. He is the founder president of Indo-American Senior Citizen Association of New Jersey, member of Edison Township Senior Citizen Board. He actively lobbies for various issues pertaining to seniors with local, state and national politicians and government officials. Recently, Mr. Karra has been appointed by Governor Whitman on the Martin Luther King Jr. Commission. He has also been selected as Advisor to the Middlesex County Human Services Advisory Board.
MATHEW KOSHI: 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 has 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. Married to Annie, Professor, City College, City University of New York. Mr. Koshi has been involved with NIAASC since its inception and currently holds the position of Secretary.
KAMLA MOTIHAR: Kamla Motihar with Masters in Sociology and Library & Information Science came to USA in 1974 after spending more than 10 years in London where she worked as Head of the British Council Division for Libraries in Asian & Pacific countries. She has been working as Director of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Library and will retire at the end of 2000. Ms. Motihar has been very active in a number of community organizations: one of the founding members and treasurer of the first Asian Indian Women in America, and a member of the Association of Indians in America. She has volunteered her time in noble and humane causes with a number of agencies and institutions: Lighthouse, the New York Institute for the Blind, and with children suffering with AIDS at Queens General Hospital. She has also actively participated in the food distribution program to the homeless as well as distribution of blankets, hats and gloves. She has been associated with NIAASC since its inception and is a member of NIAASC Board.
ASHWIN PANDYA MD: Ashwin Pandya, a physician, and Board- Certified psychiatrist, has been practicing in the United States since 1962. In his 30 years with the New York State psychiatric system, he held many senior clinical and administrative positions. Currently, he is a clinical psychiatrist at the Yours, Our, Mine Community Center on Long Island, and at the ACRMD Clinic in Queens. His subspecialties include addiction, forensic (legal), and major psychiatric illnesses. In his private time, Dr. Pandya has made many contributions to the Indian community. He is one of the founders and a past president of the Indo-American Psychiatric Association. Dr. Pandya has served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Nav Nirman Foundation, a nonprofit organization providing services to the South Asian community on family issues. He has developed and nurtured two senior citizens programs in the New York City area in the last three years. Ashwin has been associated with NIAASC since its inception and holds the position of Vice President.
MANOJ KUMAR PATEL, Esq.: Manoj Patel with specialty as Immigration Lawyer and Tax Consultant lives in Jersey City, New
Jersey. Since 1989 he has served as chairman of the Human Rights Commission of Jersey City. He has been serving in a number of community organizations: President, Indo-American Association of New Jersey, Founder President of India Club of New Jersey, vice president of Garden State Gujarati Association, member of Federation of Indian Associations, Asian American Heritage Council, Global Organization of People of Indian Origin, Asian American for Equality, Filipino American Community Association, and South Asian Council for Social Services. For his community work, Manoj has been recognized by political and government leaders in New Jersey. Manoj is currently a member of the NIAASC Board of Directors.
Agency Name, Address, Telephone/Fax Services Provided
SAKHI: P.O.Box 20208, Greenley
Information & Referral: Issues related to
PRAGATI: 55-44 Metropolitan Avenue
Information & Referral:
NAV NIRMAN: 87-08, Justice Avenue
Information & Referral: Education, Employment
MANAVI: P. O. Box 2131, Union NJ 07083
Services: Advocacy, Crisis Intervention, Culture-
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QUEENS CHILD GUIDANCE CENTER: ASIAN CLINIC Information
& Referral: Cultural Heritage Issues;
If you know of similar service agencies and institutions, please let us know. The agency should be providing direct services to
the people of South Asian origin. Send the information to NIAASC at 1824 Fairfax Street, Elmont NY 11003:
Attention Newsletter Editor.
NEW YORK, NEW JERSEY AND CONNECTICUT
CONNECTICUT: STATE UNIT ON AGING: Connecticut Department of Social Services, Hartford: 860-424-5277;
AREA AGENCIES ON AGING:
Southwestern Connecticut Agency on Aging: 10 Street, Bridgeport, CT
06604 Tel. 203-333-9288;
NEW JERSEY: STATE UNIT ON AGING: Dept. of Health and Senior Services. 609-588-3141; fax 609-588-3601
AREA AGENCIES ON AGING:
Northfield, 609-645-7700x4700; Hackensack: 201-646-2625; Westhampton: 609-265-5069; West Collingswood: 609-858-3220
Rio Grande: 609-886-2784; Bridgeton: 609-453-2220; East Orange: 973-678-9700; Woodbury: 609-384-6910;
Secaucus: 201-271-4322; Flemington: 908-788-1363; Trenton: 609-989-6662; North Brunswick: 908-745-3295;
Freehold: 732-431-7450; Morristown: 201-285-6848; Toms River: 732-929-2091; Hawthorne: 201-881-4950;
Woodstown: 609-769-4150; Raritan: 908-704-6343; Franklin: 973-827-5421; Elizabeth: 908-527-4866; Belvidere: 908-475-6591
NEW YORK: STATE UNIT ON AGING: New York State office of Aging. Albany: 518-474-4425; fax 518-474-1398
AREA AGENCIES ON AGING:
There are 59 AAAs in New York State: These are located in these towns:
Albany: 518-447-7179; Belmont: 716-268-9390; Binghamton: 607-778-2411; Olean: 716-373-8032; Auburn: 315-253-1226;
Mayville: 716-753-4471; Elmira: 607-737-5520; Norwich: 607-337-1770; Plattsburg: 518-565-4620; Hudson: 518-828-4258;
Cortland: 697-735-5060; Delhi: 607-746-6333; Poughkeepsie: 914-486-2555; Buffalo: 716-858-8526; Malone: 518-481-1526;
Elizabethtown: 518-873-3595; Johnstown: 518-736-5650; Batavia: 716-343-1611; Catskill: 518-943-5332;
Herkimer: 315-867-1121; Watertown: 315-785-3191; Lowville: 315-376-5313; Mt. Morris: 716-243-7520;
Morrisville: 315-684-7870; Rochester: 716-274-7800; Amsterdam: 518-843-2300; Mineola: 516-571-5814;
Lockport: 716-439-7830; Utica: 315-798-5770; Syracuse: 315-435-2362; Canandaigua: 716-396-4040; Goshen: 914-291-2150;
Albion: 716-589-3191; Oswego: 315-349-3484; Cooperstown: 607-547-4234; Carmel: 914-225-1034; Troy: 518-270-2730;
Pomona: 914-364-2110; Canton: 315-379-2204; Ballston Spa: 518-884-4100; Schenectady: 518-382-8481;
Cobleskill: 518-234-4219; Montour Falls: 607-535-7108; Waterloo: 315-539-5655; Bath: 607-776-7813
Hauppauge: 631-853-8200; Monticello: 914-794-3000x5000; Owego: 607-687-4120; Ithaca: 607-274-5482;
Kingston: 914-340-3456; Lake George: 518-761-6347; Hudson Falls: 518-746-2420; Lyons: 315-946-5624;
Mount Vernon: 914-665-5920; Silver Springs: 716-786-8833; Penn Yan: 315-536-2368; New York: 212-442-1322;
Hogansburg: 518-358-2963; Irving: 716-532-5777