Three mornings a week, Abu Sayeed, 64, wakes up in his home in Cyprus Hills in Brooklyn, NY, worrying about the subway. He wonders if he’ll manage get the right train. How long will he have to wait? As he gets ready for his long walk to the station – putting on a cap, a thick sweater, sports shoes – he worries if he’ll make it in time to catch the exercise class he loves so much at the Desi Senior Center in faraway Jamaica, Queens.
His journey begins at the Cypress Hills subway station in Brooklyn where he catches the J train to the.... Read More
We Hear You: Why Being Culturally Competent Matters in Aging Services
Salma Abdul* was born and grew up in Bangladesh. Her children left for the US to study, then settled in the country as permanent residents. When her husband died, she found herself alone. Her children, unable to leave their lives in the US, but worried about her aging alone, asked her to come and join them in America. When Abdul arrived in the USA at 69 years of age, she had to find her feet in a brand new country and culture. Her adopted country was technologically more advanced and spoke a language she didn’t understand. Its culture was completely different from hers. Its systems were complex and, because she couldn’t speak fluent English, harder to navigate.
It’s India Independence Day, 2017, and at the celebration being held at Queens Borough Hall in Queens, NY, the young announcer invites the next act to come up on stage. Ten women from India Home file in and start dancing, their bright white, orange and red saris billowing, their feet making dexterous patterns to the insistently upbeat music. The scene is remarkable not for the fact that there are Indian dancers in Queens, but because the women swaying on stage are all between 65 and 85 years old.
It is no coincidence that these women are so fit and.... Read More
Sixty-six and still a caregiver: Bharti Parikh faces the future
By all accounts, Bharti Parikh, 66, has led an exciting life. Her life has been an adventure that took her from a childhood in the tiny village of Patton in Gujarat, India, to a law degree, and fulfilling years in America that included working for the City of New York, being invited to be an artist at President Clinton’s inauguration, and being a singing star on TV.
However, there’s also another sadder, more stressful side to her story, one that is unfortunately shared by so many older adults in America. Bharti Parikh is a caregiver, and has had to be one for years. A senior herself, she.... Read More
Are South Asians more at risk for heart disease? Yes, and now there’s a new bill in Congress to address that!
This post originally appeared on the India Home blog.
Last year, Narendra Butala, a long time member of India Home, was facing a health crisis. He had been feeling breathless for a while. His blood pressure would drop suddenly and he would sweat profusely.
Still, he was afraid to go to the cardiologist because his brother had got a pacemaker in 2004 and had passed away shortly after. Even as he worried about the condition of his heart, he heard from one of his relatives. Pacemaker technology had changed, she said, and urged him to get a check-up. Finally, in July, a few months after his 78th birthday, Butala, took the plunge and went to Mount Sinai Hospital in.... Read More
Computer Classes Change Life for South Asian Elders
Until eight weeks ago, Rabeya Khanom had never used the internet. “I didn’t know anything about it,” she told me. She had just said goodbye to her computer teacher at India Home’s Desi Senior Center and was feeling a mix of emotions. Sadness because the free 8-week long computer class was ending. But also happiness because, as she pointed out, she could now, “email, and send photographs, buy ticket from travel sites, book hotel.”
Rabeya Khanom, 72, is a student with eight other Bangladeshi seniors in the free computer classes offered by India Home, in partnership with OATS, an award winning New York City nonprofit (the acronym stands.... Read More
Last month, India Home participated in the 2017 South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) Summit in Washington, DC. India Home Deputy Director Lakshman Kalasapudi and Case Manager Afroditi Shah Panna joined over 300 activists, organizations, students, and community members from across the country who had come together to raise their voices on a range of issues important to South Asian communities.
Suman Raghunathan, Executive Director of SAALT, explained the thinking behind the Summit: “Our communities continue to live in various states of shock as a panorama of hate violence, civil rights violations, and anti-immigrant policies continue to impact South.... Read More
As one of the only non-profits in New York city serving Indian, Pakistani, Indo-Caribbean, and Bangladeshi older adults, India Home recently undertook a survey of Bangladeshi elders the organization serves at its Desi Senior Center in Jamaica in order to gain an objective understanding of their needs. In the past the organization has commissioned reports such as the Attitudes to American Health Care among Elderly South Asians, a 2010 study, where doctors from Brown University conducted research with participants from India Home’s centers to understand the reliance of elderly South Asians on non-Western or alternative forms of medicine such as ayurveda or homeopathy as their preferred first line of defense against illness.
India Home, which is an organization that serves South Asian seniors at its five centers in Queens, New York has had success getting its older adult clients to improve their health by using culturally competent methods. The positive change in attitudes toward disease management and healthy eating was brought about through the organization’s ongoing and successful partnership with New York University’s Center for the Study of Asian American Health (CSAAH). The Center is the leading institute in the US set up to study Asian American health. India Home’s collaboration with the institute helped facilitate several health projects that used culturally appropriate practices to focus on the health of Bengali seniors at the Desi Senior Center, India Home’s.... Read More