NIAASC WEB SITE:
TOLL FREE # : 866-6-niaasc (800-664-2272)
7 Roberta Avenue,
Farmingville NY 11738 Spring/Summer 2001
Editors: Rajeshwar Prasad & Ashwin Pandya MD
This newsletter supplements the first newsletter (Fall-Winter 2000 Issue) which provided basic information about NIAASC: Its origin and creation; mission and objectives; activities and accomplishments; service agencies for South Asians; Web sites for government and general entities helpful for senior citizens; location and telephone numbers of Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) in the states of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut; membership benefits; and ongoing senior citizen programs in New Jersey and New York. It is strongly urged that the first newsletter be kept handy for useful information for the benefit of seniors and their families. The newsletter appears on the NIAASC web site: www.niaasc.org. You may also request the first newsletter by sending E-mail to email@example.com. If you do not have access to web site, you may call NIAASC at its toll-free number: 866-664-2272 (866-6-NIAASC).
This issue covers activities after the first newsletter: Conference on Seniors (third in the series) held on November 18, 2000; Appeal on International TV (ITV) on a 'call-in and live program' to urge Indian associations in USA to add a component for senior citizens in their ongoing activities; collaborative conferences with India Association of Long Island and similar arrangements with local organizations and groups to initiate senior citizen programs; first general body meeting of NIAASC; formal election of the Board of Directors as well as election of officers for 2001 & 2002; Information and referrals provided to seniors in New Jersey and Connecticut; providing technical support in developing the constitution for the creation of a senior citizen organization in Georgia; initiating the process of creating a 'Column on Seniors' in Indian weekly newspaper (s); providing support in a study of senior Indian immigrants to USA by Dr. Jyotsna Kalavar ( a NIAASC member) at the Penn State University; and initiating the process of developing a 'Professional Advisory Group' to advise NIAASC on issues of importance to the seniors. More details about each of these activities are in the body of the newsletter.
NIAASC Board of Directors: Officers:
Rajeshwar Prasad, president (631-698-0512), Ashwin Pandya MD, vice president (516-292-9741), Ashok Satkalmi, vice president (718-343-9038) Mathew Koshi, secretary (718-274-1594), Romesh Tewari, treasurer ( 732-727-9456)
Sushila Gidwani- Buschi: Dobbs Ferry NY, Hasmukh Gandhi: Picatsway, NJ Purushottam Karra: Edison NJ; Kamla Motihar: Flushing NY, Manoj K. Patel: Jersey City NJ, M.K.Ramasubramanian: Fresh Meadows NY, Asha Samant DMD: Livingston NJ, V.N.Sehgal MD: Jackson Heights, NY, Chandrakant Shah: Floral Park NY, Rajul Shah: Cedar Grove NJ, Vipin Shah: Old Bridge NJ,E.M.Stephen: Elmont NY, Satish Varma MD: New Hyde Park NY
For all your questions related to Social Security and Medicare, please call: 800-772-1213
WORK PROGRESS NEWS:
Representatives of NIAASC appeared in December 2000, and January 2001, on the International TV (ITV) 'Live and Call-in Program' hosted by Renu Lobo, and 'Bharatvani' hosted by Brij Lal. They elaborated on NIAASC activities. The guests: Rajeshwar Prasad, Ashwin Pandya, and Mangal Gupta, urged the Indian community organizations to add a component for senior citizens in their ongoing activities. They stressed that in a population of about 1.7 million Indian Americans in this country, about 170,000 are seniors. The demographics over the last thirty years when people from India started immigrating to USA, have changed considerably and in the last decade or so Indians who are joining their families are arriving here as seniors. It was underscored that the issues faced by recent seniors can be addressed expeditiously through organized efforts. This will help these seniors to lead a comfortable and dignified life with their children and relatives. During the 'Bharatvani' appearance the focus was on issues addressed at the conference held on November 18, 2000. (The full report appears in the body of the newsletter)
India Association of Long Island (IALI): The IALI, a 26 year old community organization, had a kickoff luncheon program on seniors December 03, 2000 in collaboration with NIAASC. A follow up program was held on April 29, 2000. The first program addressed the issues related to Social Security with Ms. Sandra Escuder, Social Security Specialist, as the guest speaker. The second luncheon program presented 'programs and services for senior citizens in Nassau and Suffolk counties' with the help of Ruth Gold, Director of Communications with the Nassau County Department of Senior Citizen Affairs, and Fatimah Lateef, Senior Advocate, with the Suffolk County Office of Aging as main speakers.
According to surveys conducted of the participants, it was very encouraging to note that large majority of the participants found the conference very helpful. The second conference on April 29 was visibly more involved as most of the participants were seniors. The participants also increased to about 90 compared to the first one where the number stood about 60. Based on the survey in the first conference results, expressed by 67% of participants, IALI/NIAASC determined to focus on information about programs and services for seniors in the two Counties.
The NIAASC, through one of its Board members, Mr. M.K.Ramasubramanian, plans to work as a resource entity for the Hindu Temple organizers to develop a senior citizen program. The NIAASC pamphlet 'How to set up Senior Citizen Program' can provide a blueprint to the leaders at the temple in this direction. Similar efforts are underway with the Hindu Center, where another NIAASC Board member, Dr. Satish Varma, will be coordinating the efforts.
REPORT OF THE 'CONFERENCE ON SENIORS' held NOVEMBER 18, 2000
The National Indo-American Association for Senior Citizens (NIAASC) held its interactive conference on November 18, 2000 at the Indian-American Kerala Center in Elmont, Long Island. The conference coordinated by Mr. Rajeshwar Prasad, was third in a series of such conferences, first being organized in September 1998.
MORNING SESSION: 'In-Family Conflicts and Compromises Faced by Immigrant Seniors' The session touched the human and emotional component of elderly Indians: story after story related by the eminent speakers and panelists:"The model minority which suffers in silence: An old woman who has a serious illness has to depend on her son for treatment. She was living in India ten years ago: 'Mom come and live with us in America where everything is in plenty and we need you'. How could she refuse? Old people need to be needed. She accepted the invitation. Son, Jitendra, an engineer had two young children. Grandma enjoyed taking care of them. Daughter-in-law Sejal was finishing her internal medicine residency. Five years later the children are in school, Sejal has full time job, and grandmother has become a prisoner of a golden cage. She had developed a kidney disease. She has to spend three days a week at the dialysis center. Fortunately she was eligible for Medicare and Social Security benefits. The children keep the money. Provide her with food & clothing. She has not gone to India for more than five years. 'My daughter-in-law does not want me to cook for my son the delicious Indian dishes he used to enjoy . Now I am a burden on them'. She had tears in her eyes almost saying 'Why am I alive'"?
Dr. Jyotsna Kalavar, Assistant Professor and Program Director of the department of Human Development and Family Studies at Penn State University in New Kensington, Pennsylvania has published a book: "The Asian India Elderly in America", published by Garland Publishers 1998. She has recently studied old age homes in India and just came back from India after presenting a paper at the International Gerontology Conference. Old people prefer to live in Old Age Homes than with their children. Many old people have to pay money to their adult children to live with them. Focusing on the issue of problems faced by seniors, Dr. Kalavar underscored that the unique problems encountered depend on the region to which they immigrated and what age they came to America.
Dr. Nalini Juthani, a Professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine spoke that there is a big difference in the two groups of seniors: one, who like us, came in late 60's and early 70's, have grown up in this country, are economically well off, have own transportation, have no problems with language and have developed a social network. And seniors who have come much later face language problems; women still wear saris and chappals, they can't leave home, and financially dependent on their children; and if living in suburbs can't talk to American neighbors and almost feel like prisoners. The grandchildren who speak English may have nothing to do with them. Then there is 'value gap'. Those who have lived in USA for many years have accepted and adapted to US values which could include the young ones expressing freely (considered talking back and insulting our elders), young people wearing clothes and hair styles, coming home late, dancing, using alcohol and meat.
Mrs. Sushila Ghevaria, a senior from India who was fluent in English, and in her 70's spoke about plight of seniors. She said she was lucky to have daughter, son-in-law and grand children. She has been an election inspector for about three years. "Living with sons can cause major problems with daughters-in-law. Son is a son till he takes his wife; daughter is a daughter all her life. But we the seniors have to change and adapt too to new culture".
Dr. Satish Varma, a Clinical Assistant Professor, State University of New York, Brooklyn, moderator for the morning panel, said he had visited one senior in a long term care nursing home. He also spoke on telephone to another senior whose wife has become bed ridden after an accident. She is paralyzed below the neck. She gets nursing care at home. The spouses sit on the bed side or stay home all day to take care of their life partners. "That is our culture, that we cannot explain to Americans" .We need senior clubs and senior centers where people can meet each other, share the nostalgia, celebrate festivals. We need the network where people can visit the seniors who are sick.
NOON SESSION: 'Process of Developing a Community-based Senior Citizen Program'
The noon session was a key note speech by Carol Hunt, Executive Director, Jamaica Services Program for Older Adults. She enumerated seven salient ingredients essential for developing a community-based senior citizen program. Essence of these features was that one has to have patience, resilience, openness, organizational capability, talk with people not talk to people. Her talk was an inspiration to those who represented a number of community-based organizations in the audience but still contemplating to initiate a senior citizen program.
Conference Report Continued:
Following the noon presentation by Carol Hunt, Mr. Purushottam Karra, President of Statewide Indo-American Senior Citizens Association in New Jersey gave an overview of the existing efforts in New Jersey and New York in addressing issues and problems faced by Indian seniors. There are seven different groups in New Jersey and one established Senior Citizen Center in Queens, New York which provide various services to Indian seniors.
AFTERNOON SESSION: 'Long Term Care and Medicaid'
Dr. Ashwin Pandya, NIAASC vice president and practicing Psychiatrist , moderated this session, which was addressed by Kathleen Quinn, Supervisor of Long Term Care -Medicaid with the Department of Social Services in Nassau County. She elaborated in details who was eligible for Medicaid and Long Term Care. The nuts and bolts of the complexities of the subject were explained in layman terminology. How one can secure financial support and what are the eligibility requirements; how one can pay Medicare premiums and deductibles if someone cannot afford that expense. She was generous to offer her assistance, and provided a package for the benefit of participants with important telephone numbers in Nassau County.
Ms. Judith Jaross, Advisor for Long Term Care Insurance with the John Hancock Insurance and Financial Services, followed up by summarizing how commercial long term care insurance coverage fits into the health care planning of seniors who can afford private insurance. She spoke of the need of Long Term Care Insurance so one gets care without wiping out the fortunes.
BEWARE OF PHONE SCAMS:
Protect yourself and your elderly friends and relatives from falling victims to telemarketing fraud. If you suspect of a fraud through mail --- junk mail about contests, trips and prizes; getting free gifts and unnecessary items in the mail; aggressive calls for investment opportunities - -- it could be phone scam. You may call your state attorney general. You may even contact Federal Trade Commission. Visit the Web site: consumer.gov/knowfraud for a consumer complaint form or call toll free: 877-382-4357
New York Has A "Do Not Call Registry". Register Yourself:
To combat telemarketing, New York State can register your telephone number and pass on the same to telemarketing companies NOT TO CALL THAT NUMBER. There is a stiff penalty if the company calls. There are certain exceptions. You may register by calling: 866-622-5569. If you are registered and wish to complain, call 800-697-1220 with name of the telemarketing company and the person calling.
KEEP YOUR SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 2001 AVAILABLE FOR A FULL DAY CONFERENCE BY THE NATIONAL INDO-AMERICAN ASSOCIATION FOR SENIOR CITIZENS. THE CONFERENCE SHALL COINCIDE WITH THE GENERAL BODY MEETING OF THE NIAASC. DETAILS WILL FOLLOW
ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF SPONSORSHIP:
The NIAASC gratefully acknowledges the sponsorship of this issue of the newsletter by Ashwin Pandya MD, practicing psychiatrist, (A.B.P.N. Psychiatry). In New York, Dr. Pandya has been involved with senior citizen clubs for many years. He is one of the founder members of Nav Nirmaan, a service entity in areas such as domestic violence, social services, substance abuse, youth services. Dr. Pandya is also the vice president of NIAASC. *********************************************************************************************
ISSUES AND PROBLEMS FACED BY SENIORS OF INDIAN ORIGIN:
The November 2000 report in this issue touches upon practical problems the seniors, particularly those who have immigrated to USA in the last 5-10 years, face in this country. Based on informal surveys, discussions and observations, NIAASC finds that the following are critical problems seniors are facing or going to face in the future. Some of these problems may be faced by early immigrants too, but more likely by the later.
The above problems and issues are in no particular order. NIAASC is an Information, Referral and Advocacy entity. Its underlying theme is not to reinvent the wheels, but to identify services already existing and through community groups persuade the seniors to take advantage of those services. At the same time NIAASC also believes that with the increasing number of Indian seniors we need centers where they feel at home; where they can cherish their traditional values; where they can develop their own social network; and where they can ask freely about various services and benefits for seniors in their local areas.
NIAASC encourages individual seniors as well as groups to contact their local Area Agency on Aging for support and information. To find out the AAA in your area call the Eldercare toll-free number : 800-677-1116
The editorial in this issue focuses on encouraging the existing local community organizations to get involved in the issues and problems of seniors in their service areas. NIAASC can provide guidelines how to set up such groups and programs. NIAASC will also be urging the business and professional organizations in USA to address issues of seniors in their programs and activities.
Appeal to community leaders:
NIAASC urges you to address the issues of seniors to make their life more enjoyable and productive. Call us and we can jointly work toward that goal.
WHAT SOME OF THEM ARE SAYING ABOUT NIAASC:
"Your instructional pamphlet on the establishment of senior program center is absolutely splendid"Mr. Parag Khandhar, Asian American Federation of New York"I want to congratulate you and your coordinators for such a nice, noble, useful, wonderful work for senior citizens ... I was waiting for the reply from Mr. Vipin Shah, which I received... Your sincere action is appreciated"Mrs. Gopi N. Jhangiani, Jersey City, New Jersey"(NIAASC) material is an effective and very complete document and I am sure it is proving of great value to the community" Mr. Greesh Sharma, Pennsylvania"Information provided by NIAASC regarding development of 'Constitution and Bylaws' was very helpful. We look forward to your guidance" Mr. Jitender Patel, Georgia
Membership Benefits WITH NATIONAL INDO-AMERICAN ASSOCIATION FOR SENIOR CITIZENS
Membership is open to all Indo-Americans, agencies and organizations which subscribe to the objectives of the NIAASC. Members will benefit through:
For Goals and Objectives of NIAASC browse the Web site: www.niaasc.org or read the first newsletter.
NATIONAL INDO-AMERICAN ASSOCIATION FOR SENIOR CITIZENS Inc.
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7 Roberta Avenue, Farmingville NY 11738 *********************************************************************************************
In the winter-fall issue of NIAASC's newsletter (first issue), we provided some useful information including linkages of our Web site with various government and general entities. We are confident that you will take advantage of that information. Our Web site again is: www,niaasc.org
The problems seniors face, issues need to be addressed, and aspirations seniors have, are very critical for local community organizations and their leaders. The Census 2000 indicates the steep increase in the population of Asian Indians in USA, touching almost 1.7 million from 815,000 in 1990. This 106% increase respectively leads to an increase in the number of seniors estimated to be about 170,000 nationwide. It is a tremendous challenge now and in future to address the problems faced by seniors. The community leaders have an obligation to:Create an environment conducive for seniors;Provide a support system for them;Help seniors to develop their own social network;Make them aware of services and facilities for them and how to procure them;Assist them to assimilate in the American way of life, while cherishing their traditional values.
NIAASC is now venturing to be a facilitator for community organizations and groups interested in developing senior citizen programs. Its pamphlet 'Guidelines: How to Set Up Senior Citizen Programs' is available on request and NIAASC's leadership is willing to interact with interested groups to help develop senior citizen programs.
With the 'Column on Seniors' to be initiated soon, NIAASC can also entertain individual questions seniors may have. Initially the column shall appear in the weekly newspaper 'Indian Reporter' and efforts will be made to persuade other weeklies to carry on such a column. The NIAASC will start with general information on Entitlement Programs and other issues affecting seniors, and over a period of time address individual questions.
In order to reach Indian community organizations throughout USA, NIAASC is also embarking on increasing its membership. The members once familiar with the process of facilitating with the community organizations in the local areas shall prove to be an invaluable asset to the Indian Americans in general and seniors in particular. NIAASC, therefore urges you to be its subscribing member with a modest donation so that we as a group can spread the message more effectively and efficiently. Membership form appears in the newsletter.
Please let NIAASC know of any important news about programs for seniors; social and health related matters for the benefit for the seniors; significant accomplishments by seniors in USA. All communications be mailed to: NIAASC at 7 Roberta Avenue, Farmingville NY 11738.
7 Roberta Avenue
Farmingville NY 11738