AristaCare, a long-term nursing home facility in Cedar Oaks, New Jersey, recently celebrated Diwali especially geared toward its Indian American patients of the Hindu faith. AristaCare has several facilities around the state.
At Cedar Oaks, AristaCare makes sure to provide culturally-specific Indian surroundings and care to seniors who live there. Dr. Mukund Thakar who is the architect behind the Indian Nursing Home Program, calls the nursing home, “a temple doing God’s work for the elderly” and not a business. He was the main organizer behind the Diwali-New Year celebrations as part of its special Indian Nursing Home Program.
Diwali was celebrated with Hindu religious murtis and rituals as well as offerings made to the gods, with scenes from scriptures and annakut. The residents enjoyed singing and dancing as well as eating the special foods made for the occasion. They felt as if they were at home during this very important Hindu festival, organizers said.
Although this year posed obstacles because of COVID-19, “our wonderful staff brought much joy to our residents with the annakut celebrations,” AristaCare said.
The special program which focuses on Indian-origin patients includes physicians and nursing staff of Indian origin, Desi food, religious services, activities, decor, TV, music, newspapers, atmosphere, and customs so that seniors feel at home. Multiple languages such as Hindi, Punjabi and Gujarati are spoken by nursing staff and physicians, poojas and other temple activities as well as Indian media entertainment are available.