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FISCO: Caregivers: Support, Challenges And Resources

Raman Gandhi

The Friends of Indian Senior Citizens Organization (FISCO) of Burlington MA held its fifth seminar “Caregivers: Support, Challenges and Resources” on March 8th 2022 at the Burlington Council of Aging. This presentation was designed to make seniors better understand the importance of Caregivers and Challenges Caregivers faces and the Support system available to Caregivers and Care-receivers. 

Nava Nev-Vogel MPH, RD, LDN, L.I.C.S.W., M.P.H., the director of Belmont Council on Aging spoke on Challenges Caregivers face, while Hilary Viola, the Director of Community Programs at Minuteman Senior Services and Melissa Pucci, the Community Engagement Manager for Minuteman Senior Services spoke about the various support available eligible seniors. All speakers were engaging followed by stimulating interaction with the 38 seniors present in person and via zoom. 

Nava Nev-Vogel opened the presentation a shocking assessment of National Caregivers Alliance that by 2030, 20% of US population will be over age 65 and there will be tremendous burden on economy by and loosing work-hours by able employees to take care of their aging love ones. Caregivers burden is defined by the physical, psychological or emotional, social and financial problems. Statics also show that Caregivers have higher rates of depression, anxiety and poorer physical health and suppressed immune system. Nava thinks that family/friend support groups and psycho-educational training is more helpful to caregivers. She said that “cognitive” empathy has been shown by small scale studies to be more helpful than “emotional” empathy.

Also, if there is equal help from all the siblings makes a huge difference than one person of the family taking burden of aging parents or parents suffering from dementia. In this context Nava mentioned that there are differences between filial responsibilities and emotionally unhealthy caregiving. The term “filial responsibility” refers to an adult child’s duty to support his or her parents. The thing is, filial responsibility is not just something you accept because it seems like the right thing to do. In some states, you are legally obligated to support your parents if they can’t do it themselves.

Hilary Viola strengthened this statement that as the needs keep growing with aging populations, the family support is the key pillar of the support. However, Minuteman Senior Services and some Community helps available. She mentioned that today Minuteman Senior Services serve Acton, Arlington, Bedford, Burlington, Boxboro, Concord, Carlisle, Harvard, Littleton, Lexington, Lincoln, Maynard, Stow, Wilmington, Winchester and Woburn. The community services like Aging Services Access Point (ASAP), Area Agency on Aging (AAA), Metro Boston Aging and Disability Resource Consortia.

Minuteman serves in the above-mentioned towns in the area of “In-home services”, “Community based”” and Nursing home based” services. She said most of these services are state and federally funded and available to free of cost to eligible seniors. And even some seniors could be eligible with some co-payments. In addition to these services Minuteman provides several Vendor Network Services including Language Interpreter Services

Melissa Pucci spoke about Option counseling. Options Counseling provides individuals & family members with information, decision-support, and helps connect them to resources to assist individuals to live as independently as possible in the setting of their choice. Option Counseling available free to Individuals aged 60 and older, Adults age 18+ who have a disability and Guardians and Caregivers. She said to get benefits of this program Meet/Talk One-on-One with Minuteman Options Counselor, identify individual's goals, Discuss the options, provide information for next steps and follow up.

After the seminar, hot vegetarian meal sponsored by Minuteman Senior Services and supplied by Zaika Restaurant of Woburn was served. 

Friends of Indian Senior Citizens is actively engaged in improving the mental health, nutrition, and good physical health of Asian Indian seniors. We invite you to visit “thefisco.org” for information about our programs. The next seminar, “Spirituality in Poetry (Bhajans)” is scheduled for Tuesday April 12th from 10:30 – 11:30 AM at the Burlington Senior Center and on Zoom. A free hot Indian vegetarian lunch will be served. 

Please also join for the vegetarian lunch program held on every Wednesday at Burlington Council on Aging and make new friends. Write to Raman Gandhi, President of FISCO for more information and to join FISCO: ram2005gandhi@yahoo.com or thefisco@gmail.com.

This event, the fifth series of FISCO event, was sponsored by a grant from the Community Health Network Area (CHNA) 15.


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