NORWALK, CA: Live acoustic music filled the room as I stepped into the building of theNorwalk Adult Day Healthcare Center (ADHC), celebratingits first-year anniversary since opening in the city. The owners, Armenian sisters, known asMariana and SuzieMirzoyan, felt there was a lack of recreational centers for the Indian senior citizens. The Mirzoyan sisters became nurses earning their degrees from West Coast University and had experience before working with senior citizens.
“We had been planning this for eight years,” says Suzie Mirzoyan, “after graduating we were previously working at Mariana’s father-in-law’s adult day care center, where we gained experience to create a social center where Indian seniors could gather and connect with each other.”
Norwalk-ADHC caters to the needs of elderly folks spanning beyond Norwalk, including Irvine, Fullerton, Orange County, Tustin, La Mirada, and even Whittier. They welcome all backgrounds to their daycare, but they have noticed that mainly the Indian community has been very receptive to enjoying recreational activities at their center.
“Armenians and Indians are similar, we have strong family core values and believe in helping others,” says Mariana. Although their exposure and fascination with Indian culture started from watching Bollywood films, they have since then fallen in love with the people, evenmore, singing praises of their warmth and hospitality, much like their Armenian roots.
Since the opening of their center, they have even seen progress in some of their clients suffering from Parkinson’s disease, a debilitating neurodegenerative illness that affects the dopaminergic neurons in the brain, causing tremors and shaking in patients. A couple who was both suffering from the disease, have been coming to Norwalk-ADHC since its opening and the staff have seen their progress firsthand and how the disease seems to be going into remission.
“It’s so remarkable and reaffirming why we started this mission. We see our clients healing in front of our eyes. We have given them back a purpose, some female aunties come with such joy saying that they haven’t worn their glamorous saris in so long and feel young again.”
Keta Patel, a physical therapy maintenance nurse atNorwalk-ADHC, explained to me how the day starts off for the seniors. “We start around 8:30 AM with prayers, feed the seniors breakfast, have them exercising 15 to 20 minutes each and allow them to play games such as caroms, table tennis, and blackjack,” says Keta. We also let them partake in outside activities, provide them with lunch before our private drivers drop them back home around 2:30 PM,” she says.Susy adds that they have the seniors put together performances or have musical guests to entertain them as well. She emphasizes the best part about coming to this center, is that it’s fully covered by MediCal, “That’s an offer you can’t refuse!
The staff from Norwalk-ADHC check on the seniors even when they’re home through telehealth calls because they care for them so much. The center also provides additional services and informative resources that seniors might want to inquire about or be guided on.
Rosie Gayten, one of the social workers who worked previously with Arcadia, came to be a part of ADHC just last December and explained what those services are. “I help conduct psychosocial assessments to see what needs the seniors have, whether that be IHSS (In Home Support Services), food stamps, need of caregivers, or even information on the citizenship process in the US,” says Rosie.
She is originally of Mexican descentbut has learned so much about the Indian culture by working at this facility. One of the seniors in fact gifted her a sari that she beautifully wore the day of our visit to the center, and she feels like this place has become a second family to her.
And that’s what both the Mirzoyan sisters prioritize; they want their daycare at the end of the day to feel like a family. Just watching from the sidelines as we glanced at some of the seniors and staff dancing to music being played, we could see a sense of happiness and love, truly a beautiful picture to capture of those who teach us the most and share the most wisdom with us.
For more information, please call: (562) 474 8080.