On the home front: (from left) caregiver Sinqueney Gordon, Kishori Dalal and Falu Shah.

Winning a Grammy is a significant musical achievement, one that singer Falu Shah now can claim. But if she hadn’t been able to find home care for her elderly mother, Kishori Dalal, Shah never would have touched the Las Vegas stage earlier this year. Thanks to the efforts of caregivers and staff at VNS Health, Shah was able to attend the awards ceremony with her son while her mother cheered her on from the comfort of her couch. 

“If there is a Grammy for caregiving, this entire team should get it,” Shah, a New York City resident, said. “We have a joke about it in my house: [Our primary caregiver] Sinqueney is the daughter that my mother did not give birth to. She’s fabulous. She is so professional, she is always on time, and she does it every day with passion and with love.”

A musical life

Shah and her mom, Dalal, share the same love for music. It was an omnipresent force in their household in Mumbai. Dalal, a classical Gujarati singer, started training Shah when she was 3 years old. For young Shah, music became a portal to a world of possibilities. 

“We had a little TV in the house. I used to see Michael Jackson Madonna winning all these things. It was like catching hold of Mars, a different planet,” Shah said. “My mother said, ‘Go dream big.’ So there was always a dream. But then it became a reality.”

Shah’s professional music career has included more than 550 concerts in the U.S. and around the world, being featured in numerous film compilations and soundtracks, as well as an artist-in-residence position at the venerated Carnegie Hall. After learning of her nomination in the best children’s music category, adding “Grammy winner” to the list at the awards ceremony on April 1 seemed inevitable. But Dala’s sudden fall on March 15 soon complicated things. 

Help needed

“There’s no prediction, it can happen anytime at any minute,” Shah offered. “To understand the severity of [her] falling was a big brutal realization. I didn’t know that. Second, you’re in a state of confusion as well as shock because it happened and she’s in the hospital. Who’s gonna pick up my son? What do I do? Where do I go? Who do I call? All of that was sorted out by VNS (Health).” 

After Dalal’s fall, VNS Health, one of the nation’s largest nonprofit home- and community-based healthcare organizations, stepped in to help. Working with a team of occupational and physical therapists as well as social workers, Dalal found kindred spirits in her new companions. 

“She [Shah] really spoke to my caregiver’s heart, because I’m a medical professional, I’m a social worker, but I’ve also been a caregiver for my own parents before they passed away,” Jeri Goodman, VNS Health associate director of social work, said.“And similarly, most of our care team has also been in a caregiver role at one point or another. So, we are really focused on providing as much support and as much empathy as we can. We didn’t want to provide all this wonderful short term care for her mom and then just discharge them without having the right supports in place that they needed.”

For Grammy winner, a dream come true

With her mother taken care of, Shah was free to attend the awards ceremony in Las Vegas with her son in tow. Dalal watched her daughter walk across the stage from the comfort of her own home. Soon after, she would be holding her daughter’s trophy in her own hands — a fitting symbol for her family’s own American Dream.

“It’s the promised land where people like me, a first generation immigrant woman, can come and work hard, and pursue their dreams and make it happen” Shah said. “Here in this country, talent and hard work is appreciated like I’ve never seen anywhere else.” 

Editor’s note: Home Sweet Home is a feature appearing Mondays in McKnight’s Home Care Daily Pulse. The story focuses on a heartwarming, entertaining or quirky happening affecting the world of home care. If you have a topic that might be worthy of the spotlight in Home Sweet Home, please email Liza Berger at [email protected].