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East Indian Seniors in America

on 2001/6/8 9:47:02 ( 1479 reads )


SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA, June 2, 2001: Imagine moving halfway around the world to a country where the culture is much different from your own, and your initial lifeline in this move is a son or daughter whom you may not have seen for several years. With a heartful of mixed feelings, many East Indian seniors are making the move to the U.S. in the Autumn of their lives. After the first joyful encounters with offspring and grandchildren, the sometimes hard reality of American life sets in. Expecting that they will be treated with dignity and respect and their needs catered to because their Indian culture dictates that this is the way it should be, some seniors are given the honor they deserve while others are treated distastefully by their grown-up children. Even with the best of intentions, many families do not realize how terribly lonely and frightened their senior parents are in America. As a result according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Asian Americans have the highest suicide rate among women 65 or older." If the family is inharmonious and the elderly are mistreated, the incidences of clinical depression escalate even further. Caring children of seniors retiring in the U.S. have recognized the problem and are trying to do something about it by establishing centers where the elderly can meet with their counterparts. For example Matra Majmundan set up the first Indian American Senior Citizens program in the San Francisco Bay Area about twelve years ago. New York-based Sakhi and New Jersey-based Manair have set up counselling services for seniors.

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