“My mother is recovering from a stroke. My father who was her primary care provider is undergoing treatment for colon cancer. My in-laws are staying with us and both have special needs. As the Indian community is maturing the need for elder care is a very real issue for many of us” says Kumkum Dilwali. Dilwali was a speaker at the Seva fundraiser organized at Masala Art on Sunday, December 12 by Seva supporters. The event was aimed at bringing awareness to issues centered on elder care.
Seva, a volunteer group in conjunction with Minuteman Senior Services has been providing special services to the elderly in Indian community including arranging special Indian luncheons for seniors and providing companionship for seniors who are hospitalized amongst other. “By working with Seva we are able to expand our reach and tailor our services to suit the needs of the elderly in the Indian community” said Joan Butler, executive director of Minuteman Senior services. Butler, the keynote speaker came to the event dressed in a Saree.
“Our mission is to help elders and others remain in their own homes - safe, comfortable and independent - for as long as they are able, and to support their caregivers as they face the challenges presented by the competing needs of family, work and self” said Butler. Minuteman Senior Services provides a wide range of services for the elderly including health benefits counseling, legal services, meals-on-wheels, money management and others. They also provide support services for caregivers and counseling and guidance.
“Volunteer help is a very integral part of our organization. We welcome help. We will train volunteers to provide appropriate services. Seva has taken a leadership role in addressing special needs of the elderly in the Indian community” said Butler.
What motivates Seva women to put in so much effort into supporting the elderly? “Both my parents and in-laws are no more. By serving the elders in the community I feel like I am serving my own parents” says Rita Kakkar who is the driving force behind this initiative. Shika Kapoor, wife of Vinod Kapoor (owner of Masala Art) feels it is her duty. “My in-laws have lived with us for the past forty years. We are blessed that they are in good health. I have two sons and I really feel it is my duty to serve not just my in-laws but others in the community as well”“It is not so much a service as it is fun. They are wonderful people and I just enjoy being with them and talking to them” says Nilma Handa
“Seva has started something wonderful. But we need to expand on their work and help sustain it. There are many resources available in each community. Our experience has taught us that it is critical to identify the resources that are available and connect the resource with the person who needs it. To address this concern, my son Kapil and I have started an initiative called ‘Elder Connections’ through which we hope we can bring together people across generations to come together and support each other” says Kumkum. She hopes to launch this initiative in the fall of 2005.
To learn more about the services offered by Minuteman Senior Services please check out their website at www.minutemansenior.org.