NATIONAL INDO-AMERICAN ASSOCIATION FOR SENIOR CITIZENS INC.

NEWSLETTER


Mailing: 7 Roberta Avenue, Farmingville, NY 11738         Editors: Rajeshwar Prasad & Ashwin Pandya MD

Winter 2004-05 Issue                         Web site: www.niaasc.org                              E-mail: niaasc@aol.com


NIAASC WISHES YOU AND YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILIES A VERY HAPPY AND PEACEFUL NEW YEAR

 

NIAASC ELECTS OFFICERS AND BOARD MEMBERS:

Election of Members of the Board of Directors:

Dr. Ashvin Doshi, chairman of the Nominating Committee of NIAASC presented the Committee Report for electing members of the Board of Directors of NIAASC. As per NIAASC Constitution one-third Board members retire every year, but they are eligible to be reelected for a period of three years. In 2004 six Board members retired and five of them opted to continue as Board members. The Nominating Committee presented these five members to the General Body for approval for a period of three years ending December 31, 2007. The General Body approved all five Board members: Satya Malhotra, Satpal Malhotra, Manoj K. Patel Esq., MK Ramasubramanian, Suprabhat Sengupta. The Board can have a maximum of 21 members, currently, it has 19 members.

Election of NIAASC Officers:

The National Indo-American Association for Senior Citizens (NIAASC) at the organizational meeting of the Board of Directors on October 30, 2004 elected new officers. Dr. Ashvin Doshi, chairman of the Nominating Committee, chaired the meeting. Doshi informed the members that as per NIAASC Constitution and Bylaws, an officer could serve a maximum of two consecutive 2-year terms. In this regard he announced that Mr. Rajeshwar Prasad (president), Dr. Ashwin Pandya and Dr. Ashok Satkalmi (Vice Presidents) and Mr. Romesh Tewari (Treasurer) have completed their two terms in their current positions and therefore will not be eligible to contest for the same position this year. After seeking nominations, duly moved and seconded, the following officers were elected for a term of two years starting January 1, 2005: 

President:  Ashwin Pandya MD

Vice Presidents: (2)  Mr. MK Ramasubramanian and Samir K. Dutta MD

Secretary: Ms. Tara Kotecha

Treasurer: Mr. Satpal Malhotra   


 

Rajeshwar Prasad introducing Dr. Ashvin Doshi

 

2005 Officers: Malhotra, Pandya, Ramasubramanian, Dutta, and Kotecha  

In his remarks, Ashwin Pandya, President -Elect, thanked the Board of Directors for their confidence and assured them he would do his best to discharge his responsibilities and sought their cooperation. He underscored the fact that NIAASC has come a long way under the leadership of Mr. Prasad.  

NIAASC gratefully acknowledge financial support by Dr. Ashwin Pandya for this issue of the newsletter

GENERAL BODY MEETING 

ANNUAL PROGRESS REPORT:

On the occasion of fifth General Body meeting NIAASC President, Mr. Rajeshwar Prasad reported that the National Indo-American Association for Senior Citizen (NIAASC) moved with strides during 2004. This is primarily due to commitment and dedication of NIAASC Board members. It is their untiring efforts that have resulted in great accomplishments for the benefit of seniors and their families. Wide coverage in the Indian media, and a new section in India Abroad 'Sixty Plus' initiated in August 2004, has helped fan out our mission throughout USA. However, it may be pointed out that its membership enrollment by and large has not kept pace with its growing recognition.

Conferences:

During this year NIAASC arranged two full day conferences/workshops, thus bringing the total of such events to nine since 1998. The August 22, 2004, brainstorming session on 'Planning, Development and Administration of Senior Housing Complex' generated great interest in a number of cities/states in the country. Besides calls from the metro area of New York/New Jersey, inquiries were made from Texas, Chicago, California and Minnesota about the workshop and the follow up. Six professionals led the interactive session among 26 participants providing an insight, challenges and prospects of senior housing. Essentials of fair housing laws and civil rights provisions were also enumerated for the benefit of participants. (For details please go to www.niaasc.org)

On October 30, 2004, NIAASC attempted to address a very emotional issue affecting seniors and their families: 'Social and Cultural Interventions and Elderly Abuse.' (More details under the Conference on Seniors)

Collaborations:

The year showed an enormous collaboration with a number of Indian agencies and organizations notably the Indian American Kerala Cultural and Civic Center, Senior Citizen Center of New York, Long Island Gujarati Cultural Society, India Association of Long Island, and Hindu Temple Society of North America. We are hopeful for a promising and optimistic cooperation with more groups in future. Ongoing liaison of NIAASC with non-Indian entities such as AARP, Asian Americans for Equality, Asian American Federation of New York, Area Agencies on Aging in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, Town Governments in Huntington and Brookhaven in Suffolk County, and Catholic Charities has proved to be very productive. New alliances are being developed with more entities: National Coalition of Asian Pacific American Community Development, and Long Island Housing Services Inc., which will further help NIAASC considerably in its mission.

Communications:

Toll free telephone of NIAASC and its web site have been used extensively in 2004. The NIAASC newsletters (three issues in 2004) have received favorable comments about the information imparted to readers about issues affecting seniors. The Resource Guide for Seniors and Caregivers was published in our spring issue. Thanks to Saul Friedman of Newsday from whose article this guide was adapted by NIAASC for the Indian seniors and their families. Guide was also published in the India Abroad in September 2004 with proper acknowledgment to NIAASC.

In Retrospect:

In recognition of the fact that he would step down as NIAASC President, Mr. Prasad touched on some important ingredients of NIAASC. Without the two allies: Global Organization of People of Indian Origin and the Kerala Center, and initial technical and financial support from the National Asian Pacific Center on Aging (NAPCA) based in Seattle Washington, NIAASC may not have been where it is today. The concept of NIAASC was floated in July 1998 when a dinner meeting was arranged by Dr. Thomas Abraham, President, GOPIO, and attended by some 24 community leaders from the tri-state area. Mr. Clayton Fong, Executive Director and Ms. Ellen Bhang, Project Director form NAPCA spoke and discussed at length the issues on Indian Seniors. They reiterated and participants agreed that the first task would be to focus on a conference to understand issues and aspirations of Indian seniors. Mr. Prasad  was asked to take the leading role. The first full day conference held in September 1998 gradually led to the creation of NIAASC. The interim Board of Directors, subsequently formalized in 2000, helped NIAASC in manifold accomplishments. A host of Indian and American organizations, both governmental and private, collaborated with NIAASC in conducting nine conferences and workshops, and in developing positive working relationship thereafter.

NIAASC looks forward to enroll more members on board. NIAASC also need to explore possibility of establishing a comprehensive database, and undertake studies to more accurately understand characteristics of our senior population. It will not only help NIAASC but other also in grasping the issues of seniors and their aspiration which in turn will help in developing appropriate programs and activities. NIAASC has built the infrastructure with a viable foundation and now need to explore grants from government and private foundations to strengthen its financial and programmatic base.


CONFERENCE ON SENIORS: October 30, 2004                                                

 The subject of the conference was "Social and Cultural Interventions and Elderly Abuse" and the keynote speaker was Dr. Ashok Satkalmi, Clinical Director of the Transitional Services of New York, a leading mental health clinic in New York area. In introducing Satkalmi, Mr. Satpal Malhotra, NIAASC Board member emphasized Satkalmi's voluntary work with the Queens District Attorney and Flushing Hospital. In addressing this emotional and sensitive issue Satkalmi underlined as to how elder abuse happens, different aspects of elder abuse, and how it can be controlled and mitigated. His presentation dealt with the following aspects of elder abuse:

 

One section of the audience at conference

 

Adele Klenk from AARP speaking: Speakers/Panelists

L to R: Satkalmi, Jugrag Kaur, Pandya & Sarvi Asnani

 

Satkalmi felt that among Indian families elder abuse is not that prevalent as in other communities in USA. He, however, hinted its emergence in various forms, suggesting it is a  two-way attempt, Satkalmi illustrated various processes to redress abuse through creating social network, adaptation to the new way of living in a foreign country, understanding and incorporation of traditional social and cultural values normally practiced by seniors to an amicable situation, involvement of seniors in social, economic and other appropriate decisions.

The key note speech was supplemented by three panelists: Ms. Jugraj Kaur, President of Nav Nirmaan, and specialist in crisis intervention by virtue of her work in the public school system; Dr. Ashwin Pandya, a practicing Psychiatrist, NIAASC Vice President and founder of Senior Citizens Center of New York; and Ms. Sarveshwari Asnani, with extensive corporate business experience and spiritual knowledge of integrated living. All the three panelists had direct or indirect experience in the area of elder abuse and they invoked a serious interactive positive discussion among the participants. During the interaction many other aspects of elder abuse were manifested. It was also believed that at times it is the reverse abuse when for example a daughter in law is abused by her mother in law. The panel determined that there is more abuse in India than in the United States, and rarely there are cases of reverse abuse.

 

The major sponsor for the October 30th event was MAAZA Beverages. The collaborators included Indian American Kerala Center, Asian American Federation of New York, and the Kanchi Kamakoti Sewa Foundation. There were about a dozen individual sponsors.

 

THE HONOREES:

NIAASC recognized two outstanding honorees for their dedication and leadership in service to seniors:

 

Late PURUSHOTTAM KARRA:

This posthumous award to Mr. Karra from Edison, New Jersey was accepted by his son, Vittal and other family members. Purushottam who died in February 2004 was remembered for his advocacy role not only in the town of Edison but also in the state of New Jersey as well as at the National level. Romesh Tewari, Treasurer, who outlined Purushottam's accomplishments underscored the fact that in New Jersey there is a vacuum in the voice for seniors and that NIAASC has lost an important liaison with a number of senior programs in the state of New Jersey. Vittal expressed that interest and commitment of his father for seniors and well being of family was paramount in his life. He also enumerated occasions when his father talked about the work of NIAASC and how we all need a central agency for information, advocacy and referrals.

Vittal, son of late Purushottam Karra, with his wife and son: Other Satkalmi, Romesh Tewari and Prasad

SENIOR CITIZEN CENTER OF NEW YORK (VAISHNAV TEMPLE) 

The other award was given to the Senior Citizen Center of New York that meets alternate Saturdays at the Vaishnav Temple. Rajeshwar Prasad, NIAASC President, deliberated in details as to how the Center initiated about eight years ago provides a homely environment to some 60 seniors twice a month. The Center, in addition to regular meetings, undertakes trips to religious institutions and places of interest and pleasure such as Niagara Falls. In celebrating the national holidays and events such as India's Republic Day and Independence Day the Center collaborates with a number of organizations including NIAASC. These celebrations are attended by hundreds of people. Prasad also indicated that the leadership at the Center has offered to help any organization interested to develop a senior program. In accepting the award, the Center Founder, Dr. Ashwin Pandya and its Coordinator, Chandubhai Patel, appreciated the recognition. They were joined by other members of the Center. In presenting the plaque to the Center leadership Prasad was joined

by Satya Malhotra, a NIAASC Board member and a liaison for senior programs in Long Island.

 

Senior Citizen Center with Satya Malhotra speaking:

others L to R:  Chandubhai Patel, Ashwin Pandya, Rajnikant Shah, Rameshbhai Shah, and Champakbhai Pariikh


NEWS BRIEFS:

ASHWIN  PANDYA  HONORED

On November 21, 2004 at the Diwali celebrations, the Senior Citizen Center of New York (Center) at the Vaishnav Temple honored its Founder and NIAASC Vice President, Dr. Ashwin  Pandya. Special tributes were offered by Dr. Uma Mysorekar, President, Hindu Temple Society of North America, Mr. Rajeshwar

Prasad, President, NIAASC, Praful Shah, coordinator, senior program run by the Long Island Gujarati Cultural Society, Dr. Arvind Shah, President, Vaishnav Temple, and Mr. Chandubhai Patel of the Center.

 

 

 

In the picture:  Ahwin Pandya with his wife with traditional Indian scarves

others L to R: Indravadan Patel and Kantibhai Patel

 

INTER GENERATION CONVERSATIONS:

The department of Social Welfare, State University of New York at Stony Brook, invited on two occasions Mr. Prasad, to participate in the roundtable conference on the issue of conversation between generations, and impact of family traditions. He brought a unique perspective before the audience of Indian families growing up and how it vastly differs from American families. He outlined that India Americans living in USA comprise of those Indians who have been living here for 3-4 decades, and those who have joined their adult children or family members, and those born or brought up in this country. Each group presents a different perspective as the children growing up are Americans in almost all respects, the early immigrants have adapted themselves in the mainstream, where as the recent immigrants still face difficulties in adjusting to the new way of life. There are situations where three generations and in some cases four generations live together. India's traditional joint family structure is still intact particularly in villages, where over 70% Indians live and work. In cities the joint family system is going through structural changes, but the social network is still very strong.

 

NIAASC CHAPTERS:

NIAASC has floated the idea of affiliating with existing senior programs and community organizations in USA. NIAASC Board is outlining the Guidelines and Procedures how to address this task. NIAASC would also be engaging itself in extending its mission and objectives through Chapters. In the last newsletter we talked about Affiliates and work is underway in that direction. Formal steps, however, will lead to establishing chapters. The Board of Directors had Mr. and Mrs. Ashok and Vidya Sapre from California at its November 14, 2004 meeting and discussion on chapters was initiated. Currently the procedures for establishing chapters are being worked out.

 

Mr. & Mrs. Sapre at the NIAASC meeting

LIFE MEMBERS DURING 2004: (some converted to life membership)

Dr. Bhanumathi Ivatury, from Texas, Nirupa Shah from New York, Dr. Janardana Pingli, New Jersey, Dr. Nalini Juthani from New York, Chandrakant Shah, New York, Chandubhai Patel, New York. NIAASC welcomes these and other new members.

BENEFITS FOR SENIORS:

NIAASC collaborated with AARP in publicizing a particular web site:

BENEFIT OUTREACH PROGRAM CAMPAIGN

The National Indo-American Association for Senior Citizens (NIAASC) is participating in the above campaign initiated by AARP. It is an educational campaign targeting the seniors of all faiths. NIAASC brings it to your door steps and urges you to take advantage of the same. If you know others can benefit, pass it on please:

GO TO THE WEB SITE: WWW.BENEFITSCHECKUP.ORG

See below how you may seek help:

Having trouble paying your bills?

There is help!


DO YOU KNOW?


Two couplets from sayings of the legendary Tamil saint, Tiruvalluvar, translated in English by Kasthuri Sreenivasan:

" It's always good to forgive ill,

To forget it is better still.

Speak bitter words in one's presence,

You may; but slander not in absence..."


RESOURCE GUIDE FOR SENIORS and CAREGIVERS: There have been requests to reproduce this guide (it was published in the 04 spring issue of NIAASC newsletter: Please review that newsletter on the web site of niaasc: www.niaasc.org)


NIAASC Board of Director 2005:  (Year in parenthesis denotes year of retirement) Samir Kumar Dutta MD (2005) -- Vice President, Sushila Gidwani-Buschi Ph.D. (2005), Tara Kotecha (2006) -- Secretary, Satpal Malhotra (2007) -- Treasurer, Satya Malhotra RN (2007), Ashwin Pandya MD (2006) -- President, Chandubhai  Patel (2006), Manoj K. Patel Esq. (2007), Rajeshwar Prasad (2006), MK. Ramasubramanian (2007) -- Vice President, Asha Samant DDS (2005), Ashok Satkalmi Ph.D. (2006), V.N. Sehgal MD (2005), Suprabhat Sengupta (2007), Chandrakant Shah (2005), Vipin Shah (2005), E.M. Stephen (2006), Romesh  Tewari (2006), Satish Varma MD (2005)                      

EDITORIAL:NIAASC has been exploring ways to let Indian seniors throughout USA know about different programs and activities they can avail of. The programs run by different organizations are of different duration but they all focus on seniors having good time, enjoying their free time, making new friends and participate in various activities of their liking. As you may be aware NIAASC referrals by and large have been limited to Area Agencies on Aging (AAA). Each state has one state unit on aging and then are a number of AAAs in each state.

You will recollect that India Abroad in its issue of August 13, 2004, had published a list of associations and centers that offer activities for senior Indians. NIAASC is confident that seniors have taken advantage of that information. The list at that time was limited to nine states only: Arizona, California, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Texas. There is a possibility even in these nine states all associations and centers providing activities for seniors may not have been covered. Of course, other states not covered so far by India Abroad also may be having programs for Indian seniors.

The 'Sixty Plus' section in India Abroad has been widely acclaimed by Indian seniors as

has been evident from scores of letters and questions. NIAASC is urging its newsletter readers to send information about different groups or senior clubs involved with activities for seniors in their area. They may send the information to India Abroad and to NIAASC. It will help considerably seniors and their families.

NIAASC also is requesting information pertaining to special events seniors are involved in, including information about outstanding accomplishments by seniors in their communities. NIAASC will be pleased to publish the information in its newsletter as long as there is an affirmation by the appropriate individual and/or group to publish it.


BE A MEMBER OF NIAASC AND PARTICIPATE FOR MUTUAL BENEFIT FOR SENIORS AND THEIR FAMILIES OF INDIAN ORIGIN; GO TO THE NIAASC WEB SITE AND REVIEW THE BENEFITS OF MEMBERSHIP AND APPLICATION FOR BECOMING A MEMBER OF NIAASC