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Lokvani Talks To Hemali Shah

Nirmala Garimella

Hemali Shah graduated from Regis College with a B.A. in Psychology and then UMass Lowell with a M.A. in Community and Social Psychology. After graduating with her Master’s she went on to get a licensure in social work and certificate in Gerontology. She now works on Senior Services Coordinator at the Lexington Senior Center.

 Why did you choose to work in this profession?

 I’ve been working with the senior population since 2012 in various roles such as Case Manager, Program Coordinator, Community Care Coordinator and Senior Services Coordinator. My passion for working with the senior population stems from growing up in a culture that promotes respect for elders and an opportunity to be raised by our grandparents. Having been raised by both sets of my grandparents I’ve had fond memories of being taken care of and shown love in a different way than my parents. Those memories and love for them really encouraged me to seek a career in this field and bring that love back to the senior population as a whole.

 What is your role at the Center?

As a Senior Services Coordinator I play many roles. The biggest role I play is to provide programming, whether educational or social, to decrease isolation among the senior population and promote healthy living. The type of programming we provide ranges from college type courses to comedy, drama, wine and beer tasting, health seminars, retirement planning and so much more. The other role I play is to provide informational and referral services. This means helping someone over the phone or in person to navigate community and state resources for various issues, such as housing, Medicare concerns, or getting help in the house. Last but not least I also facilitate our caregiver support groups, where we meet and provide support and assurance to caregivers overwhelmed with stress.  

 How can the community get involved? 

 The community can get involved in many ways. One, volunteer their time at the center to assist the department in various ways. Two, help support programming by sponsoring a program by either donating money or recommending a professional that could provide a seminar on a topic related to aging. We recently had one important talk on Osteoporosis by Dr Dinesh Patel that was received very well. Last but not least network with me to ensure we are promoting healthy living and aging among our Indian and Non-Indian seniors through various platforms.

  Can you share some future plans of the center?

 The future plans for the Lexington Senior Services is to continue engaging seniors of all racial and ethnic backgrounds to participate in programs, services, and volunteer roles. We also hope to enhance our technology to connect with homebound seniors in providing support and an opportunity to participate in programs through video applications. With the ever growing senior population, Lexington currently at 8500 seniors, we hope to continue working where we can reach all of those seniors in some capacity.



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