India Home: Evaluation

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The effectiveness of India Home’s program was measured by a Beneficiary Satisfaction Survey and by a team of social workers. These evaluations are done on a biannual basis. On the Beneficiary Satisfaction Survey, seniors rate their satisfaction level with various programming aspects using a five-point scale where 1 would indicate extreme dissatisfaction and 5 would indicate extreme satisfaction.

 The evaluations were conducted onsite.

The results showed that the seniors would like India Home to open more social day care centers. Another interesting aspect of the result was that some seniors requested a day care program with a focus on the medical care model. The members are highly satisfied with the current programs like Exercise, Yoga, Spiritual discussions, mental stimulating activities, computer class, English and citizenship class, discussions by social workers, gerontologists, doctors. The members also expressed their happiness in consuming vegetarian food at all India Home centers. 

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India Home: Staff and Volunteers

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At India home there are currently 3 paid full-time employees, 2 paid part-time employees, 3 interns, and 20 volunteers. For festivals such as Diwali, the number of volunteers swells to around 50 people. The role of volunteers in India Home has been that of a soul in the human body since the inception. The volunteers at India Home have built the organizational strength. This strength comes not only from growing and retaining members and enhancing association programs, but also in the sense of ownership that volunteers gain when they become visible advocates for the association. As India Home continues to reach out to the South Asian community, the number of volunteers, interns and employees will continue to increase.

India Home programs are largely facilitated by its members with the support of a head supervisor and transportation organizer, social service coordinator, outreach coordinator, interns, consultants and invaluable volunteers support. To extend its reach into the community, India Home has partnered with five other senior centers, as well as Managed care firms like Center light and Senior Health partners which has resulted in the development of cross-organizational relationship, professional development trainings, client referral networks, and the identification of unmet community needs. India Home differs from other senior centers as it recognizes its highly educated seniors as a valuable asset to the community. Drawing upon the assets of its active membership and its creative aging philosophy, India Home is now seeking to directly address the debilitating social issues of aging.

India Home: Organizational Relationships

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India Home has several relationships with other agencies, which provide services to senior citizens.

They include but are not limited to:

a) Sunnyside Community Services (SCS): India Home has been operating its weekly program there every Monday since March 2009. 

b) New York Buddhist Vihara: India Home has been operating its weekly program there every Tuesday since October 2011. 

c) Services Now for Adult Persons (SNAP):  India Home has operated its weekly program there every Wednesday since April of 2008.

d) Queens Community House: India Home has been operating its weekly program there every Thursday since April 5th 2012.

e) Self Help Community Services (SHCS): India Home has been operating at SHCS since January 2011, every alternate Saturday.

f) Senior Health Partners: India Home is collaborating with Senior Health Partners to provide managed care for seniors who need long term care.

Although India Home is working with agencies such as SCS and SNAP which already provide community services to the senior citizen population, it is uniquely India Home’s role to offer these services in a way that meets the cultural and linguistic needs of the South Asian population. India Home strives for the same goals as its partner agencies—to empower senior citizens and improve their quality of life.  However, without working in collaboration with India Home, these agencies are very limited in their ability to reach out and deliver their services to the large South Asian population which is part of their target membership base.  

India Home: Intergenerational Programs

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India Home is now seeking to directly address the debilitating social issues of ageism through the development of intergenerational programs to expand social exchanges and community interaction between seniors and children in the neighborhood. The goal is to decrease early development of ageist thought and behavior through age-integrated social and recreational activities. In addition to tackling ageism, building mutually beneficial relationships will contribute to older adults’ sense of accomplishment in late life, alleviate social isolation, and expand social networks as a means of improving both psychological and physical health. For younger children, the benefits include gaining mentors who will potentially influence their academic, social, emotional, and physical lives, improving communication skills, gaining pride in contributing to the lives of older adults, as well as providing an opportunity to improve their self- evaluations.

India Home: Crossing Cultural Barriers

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The cultural barrier between South Asian seniors and traditional American seniors is significant and often overwhelming.

A developing goal of India Home is to bridge the gap between American seniors and South Asian seniors who are members of India Home. India Home operates in several different American senior centers located in Queens and Nassau County, NY. As a result, interactions between South Asian seniors and American seniors occur more frequently. 

India Home seeks to further develop these bonds by hosting traditional Indian festivals such as Diwali, Holi, and Ganesh Chaturti at the centers. In addition, members of India Home bring home-cooked food and traditional sweets to share during luncheons at the center. This allows South Asian seniors to familiarize and educate American seniors on different aspects of their culture and traditions.

Currently, on a day-to-day basis, activities like yoga draw a large and mixed crowd of both South Asian and American seniors. Together the seniors participate actively and enthusiastically in such programs. American seniors even attend some trips to temples and parks, capitalizing on the inter-generational and cross-cultural opportunities afforded by India Home. In an effort to promote inter-generational and cross-cultural activities, during the summer, India Home also planned several affordable cruise trips to New York City and Long Island.  

India Home: Activities

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In order to engage seniors in positive behaviors that enhance their mental and physical health, it is crucial that senior centers provide activities that are appealing to the South Asian senior members. 

India Home provides and encourages activities that engage South Asian seniors who are neither interested nor understand much of what is offered in other senior centers.

India Home offers activities that draw on the traditions of South Asian cultures, effectively encouraging the members to remain physically, mentally, socially and spiritually engaged. 

These activities include, but are not limited to, yoga, Tai-Chi, spiritual discussions, physiotherapist and nutritionist discussions and popular traditional game. 

India Home: Population Served

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India Home is targeted towards South Asian senior citizens who reside in Queens and Nassau County NY. The current seniors who attend India Home centers are a very diverse group. Many of the senior are originally from the state of Gujarat in Western India, and Punjab in Northern India. However, there are also a number of seniors from South Indian states such as Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu. Although India Home predominately serves seniors of Indian origin, the organization hopes to expand their services to the entire South Asian community. In addition, it is to be noted that India Home does not preclude membership on account of race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation.

Many of the senior citizens served by India Home are immigrants who do not read or write the English language. In consequence, these seniors are economically disadvantaged in comparison to the average American senior citizen; and although services are available, many of them, due to cultural and linguistic barriers, are not able to utilize these services.

The linguistic needs of this community are particularly difficult to meet for the majority of the current types of senior centers that are in place. India Home’s senior members speak over 20 different languages. With different languages come different cultural expectations as well as different ways of living. India Home addresses this issue by providing linguistically tailored and culturally sensitive programs to all seniors in the community centers.