Queens Conversations: Senior Centers Cope with COVID
Although we have begun a new year, we are still facing some old problems - especially the very serious COVID pandemic. Seniors remain particularly vulnerable and many are disadvantaged and in need of support. In today’s episode we feature two important organizations dedicated to helping this population.
India Home is a non-profit organization dedicated to addressing the needs of the Indian and larger South Asian senior citizen immigrant community. Started in 2007 by a group of healthcare professionals, India Home provides social, psychological, recreational, and spiritual services in a culturally sensitive environment.
Although all of their senior centers are currently closed because of COVID-19, they continue to offer assistance to needy seniors. Currently, they provide home-delivered meals to more than 100 seniors on a regular basis. These meals are both culturally compatible and prepared according to the individual’s specific dietary needs. Also, they provide groceries to those seniors who are able to cook for themselves. Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 700 seniors have benefited from these services.
Staff members from India Home regularly check in with all their seniors, providing case management over the phone. They are also continuously expanding their online class offerings for yoga, meditation, and creative aging.
In addition, they provide essential COVID-19 PPE to the community.
Since 1974, Sunnyside Community Services has supported a diverse community of over 16,000 people of all ethnicities and income levels throughout Queens. They offer programs that range from pre-K to college and career readiness, home care and home health aide training, and a full range of services for at-risk older adults. These include social adult day care for individuals with Alzheimer’s and a city-wide program of supportive services for those who care for them.
The Kew Gardens Community Center (KGCC) was established in 1996 thanks to the efforts of local residents who advocated for a community center to serve the surrounding neighborhood. Its initial program was the Kew Gardens Senior Center, whose innovative peer-led education model offers active older adults opportunities to teach and take classes on a variety of subjects. The program also offers theater and museum trips and hosts choral, creative writing and theater groups for its members.
KCC is also host to our Senior Case Management staff and our Caregiver Support program, and serves as an event and meeting space for the several local organizations.